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THE  BOOK  WAS 
DRENCHED 


</>  >  CO 

8]?OU_1 66223  g 


THE 

RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

(  Translated  From  German) 


BY 

SALAHUDDIN  KHUDA  3AKHSH 

AND 

D.  S.  MARGOLIOUTH 
FIRST    EDITION 


THE 

JUBILEE  PRINTING  &  PUBLISHING  HOUSE 

PATNA. 
W37. 


FOREWORD. 


My  brother,  Salahuddin,  began  his  last  work  on  Islamic 
Studies  —  a  translation  of  Professor  A.  MEZ'S  "DIB 
BENAISSANCB  DES  ISLAMS"  from  Gorman  into 
English  on  the  16th  of  July,  1927.  He  completed  twenty- 
three  and  a  half  out  of  the  twenty-nine  chapters  by  July, 
1931,  when  unfortunately  ho  was  taken  ill  and  died  on 
the  9th  of  August,  1931. 

The  translation  of  the  last  five  and  a  half  chapters, 
which  was  left  unfinished,  was  very  kindly  done  by  Dr. 
Margoliouth,  (p.  439)  Professor  of  Arabic  in  the  University 
of  Oxford,  who  had  taught  my  brother  Arabic  when  the 
latter  was  a  student  at  Oxford  in  the  late  nineties.  The 
first  seventeen  chapters  of  the  book  as  well  as  chapters  23 
to  29  were  published  in  the  magazine  "  Islamic  Culture"  at 
Hyderabad  between  the  years  1928  and  1933. 

After  my  retirement  from  the  Indian  Police  Service 
in  August,  1934,  I  went  to  England.  There  rny  sister-in- 
law,  Mrs.  Evelyn  Khuda  Bakhsh,  told  me  that  she  had 
carefully  preserved  the  unpublished  translations  of  the 
Renaissance  of  Islam  by  her  husband,  and  that  she  desired 
to  have  the  entire  work  published  in  the  form  of  a  book.  I 
suggested  to  her  that  she  should  write  to  Mr.  Marmaduke 
Pickthall,  the  Editor  of  "  Islamic  Culture  "  ,  and  ask  him 
if  he  wou^d  publish  the  bock,  as  most  of  the  translated 
chapters  had  already  appeared  in  his  magazine.  This  my 
sister-in-law  did,  and  she  received  a  reply  from  Mr. 
Pickthall  to  the  effect  that  ho  could  not  undertake  the 
publication  but  would  have  no  objection  to  her  getting  the 
translations  printed  in  the  form  of  a  book  anywhere  in 
England  or  in  India.  We  then  decided  to  try  and  have 


the    book    published    here,     and    as  I  was  returning  to 
India  I  brought  the  manuscripts  back  with  mo. 

It  was  beyond  my  means  to  defray  the  entire  cost  of 
the  publication  of  the  book,  so  I  approached  my  friend, 
Mr  Syed  Abdul  Azi^,  Barrister-at-Law,  the  then  Hon'ble 
Minister  of  Education  to  the  Government  of  Bihar,  and 
he  very  kindly  sanctioned  a  substantial  grant  of  money 
to  enable  me  to  accomplish  my  purpose.  But  for  the 
generous  aid  given  by  the  Government  of  Bi'har  this 
book  would  have  remained  unpublished,  and  perhaps  lost 
to  the  world  for  ever. 


SlIAIIABUDDIN    KlIUPA    BAKHSEL 


PATNA. 

1937. 


INTRODUCTORY  NOTE. 


The  author  of  the  work  which  is  hero  given  an  English 
dress,  Adam  Mez  (  born  18(>9,  died  1917  )  well  known  to 
Arabic  Scholars  by  his  edition  of  the  curious  book  A  bid  Kasiin 
ein  Bacfdader  Sittenlnld  (Heidelberg,  1902)  left  the  German 
original  of  his  Renaissance  dex  Tslams  at  his  death  in  typo- 
script,  practically  complete,  yet  not  quite  ready  for  the  press. 

The  task  of  preparing  it  for  the  printer  was  undertaken 
by  Dr.  Reckendorf,  whose  Preface,  dated  June  1922,  contains 
no  memoir  of  the  author,  and  little  more  about  the  work 
itself  than  that  it  was  ine(ant  to  portray  the  momentous  chan- 
ges in  Mahomedan  civilization  which  took  place  in  the  fourth 
century  of  Islam  (  tenth  century  A.  D.  )  with  reference  to 
their  origin  on  the  one  hand  and  their  incidental  continu- 
ance on  the  other  ;  further  that  the  author  was  dissatisfied 
with  the  title,  but  could  think  of  nothing  more  appropriate. 

It  is  indeed  clear  that  the  word  Renaissance  has  associ- 
ations which  do  not  quite  correspond  with  the  theme  descri- 
bed. Applied  to  Christian  Europe  it  means  restoration  of 
something  that  had  been  lost;  the  recovery  of  classical 
(  i.  e.  Greek)  art,  literature  and  Science,  which  during  the 
Dark  and  the  earlier  middle  ages  had  been  neglected. 

The  institutions  which  form  the  subject  of  Mez's 
researches  were  not  so  much  recovered  as  introduced;  and 
though  South  Arabian  archaeology  has  revealed  the 
existence  of  a  wonderful  civilization  in  that  part  of  the 
peninsula,  this  was  rarely,  if  ever,  the  source  of  the  innova- 
tions in  the  Islamic  Empire. 

Whether  the  title  chosen  be  felicitous  or  not,  this 
work  is  a  notable  monument  of  its  author's  learning,  which 


was  both  wide  and  deep.  It  reveals  exhaustive  study  of 
Arabic  literature,  both  printed  and  manuscript,  with  a  mass 

of  illustration  from  works  in  other  languages,  both  European 
and  Oriental.  Access  to  the  sources  of  the  statements  in 
the  text  is  facilitated  by  constant  reference  in  the  margin. 

Something  of  the  sort  had  been  previously  achieved  by 
A.  von  Kremer  in  his  culiurgeschichte  des  Orients .ruu/Pf  den 
Chalifen  (  Vienna,  1875-7),  since  whose  time  t&6  /sotujces,  of 
information  have  been  enormously  increased*  -  Fjrfcsh/ 
nfmterials  are  indeed  still  rapidly  accumulating;  but  Heft's 
work  is  a  masterly  compendium  of  all  bearing  <upcra  its 
stibjdftt'  that  had  been  ascertained  up  ba  its  time.  q  f 

The  Translator,  Mi:    Salahuddiri  .Khuda    Bakjish^who 
had  studied  at  the,  Uuivereity  of  Oxford, .in  \\\*    busy  lif^as 
barrister  and  P?ofes$ar  at  the  University  rof  Calcutta,  found 
time  to  produce,  numerous    original   works  connep^ci  , \yijh 
Ifllam    and    its,   history,  ^and    to  give    $ng[li$h    dress    to 
important  German  treatises   .dealing    with  ;thesp  subjects, 
enriching  them  with  hia  own, observations;  thus  yon  Kremer's 
brochure      culturgeschichtliche    Streifzuge    in      the     second 
edition    of    the     translation  is    swollen    into    two    st(out 
volumes  (Islamic    civilization,    Calcutta   1929,1030).     Since 
his  Okford  days  he  had  maintaihed  tegular    eoi^espondbnce 
with  the  present  writer,  ahd  whto  he  Undertook  to  tenslat6 
the    Renaissance    for    the    Hydrabad    magazine  "Islamic 
Culture  asked  me  to  peruse  and  !mfckd 'Observations  on'  the 
typescript   before   sending    it  to  £resB,   which  I   was  very 
willing  to  do.     The  tasfc    batch  of  typefscript?  was  Mbttrrved 
to^me  by  po^t,  marked  " Addressee  Dead",  a  great  shock  and 
g^ief  to  me,  thus  learning  that  I    had   lost  a  valued   friend 
of  long  standing,  while  the  world  Had  lost  a  man  .peculiarly 
well  qualified  to  interpret  East  to  West  and  West  to  East, 
owing  to  the  variety  of  his  attainments  and    the  wiclth  of 
his  sympathies.      How  wide    they  were    was  ,  apparent rto 
anyone   who  visited  his  overflowing  library,  'bequeathed, 
I  understand,  to  that  whioh  bears  the;  'name  of 
at  Bankipore 


His  translation  of  this  work  having  stopped  at  Section 
21,  at  his  widow's  request  I  tiauslated  the  four  remaining 
sections.  It  was  gratifying  to  learn  that  the  whole  was  to  be 
collected  from  the  parts  of  Islamic  Culture  and  published 
in  book  form.  A  Spanish  translation  by  Salvador  Vila  was 
issued  in  1936  among  the  Publicadones  de  las  Escuelas  de 
Esludios  Arabes  de  Madrid  y  Granada. 


°xf°!!!'  D.  S.  MAHGOLIOUTH. 

July  1917. 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER. 

PAGE 

>> 

I. 

The  Empire 

1 

?> 

II. 

The  Caliphs      ... 

8 

?j 

III. 

Tho  Princes  of  the  Empire 

15 

M 

IV. 

Christians  and  Jews 

32 

J) 

V. 

Shi'ah 

59 

n 

VI. 

The  Administration 

70 

?j 

VII. 

Tho  Wanir 

89 

>1 

VIIT. 

Finances 

107 

M 

IX. 

The  Court 

132 

J? 

X. 

The  Nobility    ... 

147 

)5 

XI. 

The  Slaves 

150 

)5 

XII. 

The  Savant     ... 

170 

51 

XIIT. 

Theology 

189 

55 

XIV. 

The  Schools  of  Jurisprudence 

•311 

51 

XV. 

The  Qarli 

210 

51 

XVI. 

Philology 

235 

>* 

XVTT. 

Literature 

238 

M 

XVIII. 

Geography 

275 

5> 

XIX. 

Religion 

280 

» 

XX. 

Manners  and  Morals 

353 

?) 

XXI. 

The  Standard  of  Living  ... 

379 

55 

XXII. 

Municipal  Organization    ... 

409 

n 

XXIII. 

The  Festivals 

418 

M 

XXIV. 

Land  Products  ... 

430 

J) 

XXV. 

Industry 

459 

JJ 

XXVI. 

Trade 

470 

5J 

XXVII. 

Inland    Navigation 

485 

)> 

XXVIII. 

Communication  by  Road  ... 

492 

)) 

XXIX. 

Marine  Navigation 

505 

THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM{ 
I.    THE  EMPIRE. 

IN  the  4/10  century2  the  Empire  again  sank  back  to  its 
pre-Arab  condition.  Individual  States,  with  natural  as 
opposed  to  artificial  boundaries,  were  formed,  as  has 
always  been  the  case  except  for  short  intervals  in  the 
history  of  the  East.  In  the  year  324/935  the  disinteg- 
ration was  complete.  The  small  States  were  but  fragments 
of  one  and  the  same  Empire  and  the  historian  thus  makes 
the  inventory  of  the  liquidation:  West  Iran  is  Buwayyid, 
Mesopotamia  Hamadanid,  Egypt  and  Syria  render 
homage  to  the  Ikhshidids,  Africa  to  the  Fatimids, 
Spain  to  the  Omayyads,  Transoxiana  and  Khorasan  to 
the  Sainauids,  South  Arabia  and  Bahrain  to  the  Kar- 
mathians  and  Jurjan  to  the  Dailamites,  Basra  and  Wasit 
totheBarids;  while  naught  but  Baghdad  and  a  portion 
of  Babylonia  owned  the  Caliph's  actual  sway*, 

Already  in  the  year  324  Masudi  likens  the  situation  to 
the  Diodochi  States  that  grew  out  of  the  Empire  of  Alex- 
ander the  Great  (Masudi,  I,  30G;  II,  73  et  sqq).  And  yet 
fche  fiction  of  the  supremacy  of  the  Caliph  at  Baghdad 
is  in  no  way  dissipated  or  impaired.  Masudi  himself 
speaks  of  the  Empire  of  the  'Commander  of  the  Faithful' 
as  extending  from  Farghana  and  the  Eastern  frontier  of 
Khorasan  to  Tangier  in  the  west,  3,700  parasangs ;  from 
the  Caucasus  to  Jedda,  600  parasangs1. 

The  local  rulers  (Ashab-al-Atraf  or  Mnluk-al-Tawaif) 
acknowledge  the  suzerainty  of  the  Caliph,  and  in  the  first 
instance  cause  prayer  to  be  offered  for  him  in  the  mosque, 
and  purchase  their  titles  from  him,  and  send  annual 
presents  to  him.  Thus,  when  the  Buwayyid,  Adad-ud- 
Dowlah,  conquers  Kirman  in  358/968,  he  obtains  the 

(l)  Mez,  Die  Renaissance  Des  Mams.    Heidelberg,  1922. 

(2)  The  first  is  the  Muslim  and  the  second  the  corresponding  Christ- 
ian era.  (3)  Misk,  V,  554 ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi  58a ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  241 ; 
Kitab-al-Uyun,  Berlin,  IV,  153  b  ;  Abulfeda  under  A.  H.  223. 

(4)  Masudi,  IV,  38,  according  to  Fizari. 


2  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Chartei  of  Confirmation  from  the  Caliph1.  Like  an 
Emperor  of  the  Holy  Roman  Empire,  with  but  small 
power  over  the  German  nation,  the  Caliph,  though 
recognized  as  titular  head,  possessed  dignity  without 
substantial  authority.  But  the  idea  of  the  Caliphate  was 
once  so  overwhelmingly  sublime  that  even  the  Spanish 
Omayyads  would  not  assume  the  title  of  'Commander  of 
the  Faithful,'  but  were  content  with  the  appellation 
'Caliphs'  Sons/  (Banu-1-Khulafa).  The  Fatimids  caused 
the  first  breach.  They  aspired  to  be  not  merely  temporal 
sovereigns  but  genuine  successors  of  the  Prophet.  Thus, 
after  the  conquest  of  Kairowan  in  297/909  they  assumed 
the  title  of  Caliph2.  Since  then  the  practice  of  calling 
oneself  'Commander  of  the  Faithful'  has  spread.  In  the 
year  342/953  even  the  petty  Sunnite  ruler  of  Sigilmash, 
south  of  Atlas,  takes  on  the  once  awe-inspiring  title  of 
'Commander  of  the  Faithful'5.'  When  Abd-al-Rahman 
heard  in  Spain  that  the  Fatimids  were  calling  themselves 
'Commanders  of  the  Faithful;'  he  too  in  the  year  350/961, 
adopted  that  title1.  This  prevented  emancipated  Islam 
from  effecting  any  association  with  definite  political 
boundaries.  The  fatherland  of  the  Muslim  thus  extended 
further  and  further,  and  the  idea  of  a  Muslim  Empire, 
unknown  to  Masudi,  emerged  into  light.  While,  in  the 
case  of  Islam,  this  meant  an  extension  of  territories;  in 
the  case  of  the  Holy  Roman  Empire  of  German  nationality 
the  lapse  of  centuries  produced  the  very  opposite  results, 
namely,  its  shrinkage  into  a  smaller  and  smaller  compass. 

For  Mukaddasi,   the  Muslim  Empire  extends  from  the 
extreme  east  at  Kashghar  to  remote  Sus  on  the  Atlantic, 
and  requires  ten  months  to   traverse5.    According   to  Ibn 
Haukal  it  is  bounded  on  the  East  by  India  and  the  Persian 
Gulf;  on  the  West  by  peoples  of  the   Sudan  who  dwell   on 
the  shores  of  the  Atlantic ;  on  the  North  by  the  countries 
of  the  Eomans,  the  Armenians,  the  Alans,  the  Arrans,   the 
Khazars,  the  Russians,  the  Bulgarians,  the     Slavs,  the 
Turks,  the  Chinese ;  on  the   South  by  the  Persian   Sea8. 
Within  these    borders  the  Muslim    travelled  under  the 
shadow  of  his  faith,   and,  wheiesoever  he  went,  found   the 
very  same  God,  the  very  same  prayer,  and  the  very  same 
laws  and  customs.  There  was,  so  to  speak,  a  practical  code 
of  citizenship  of  this  Muslim   Empire,  for  the  faithful  in 
all  these  countries  was  sure  of  his  personal  freedom,  and 

(1)  Misk,  VI,  323.  (2)  '  Kitab-al-  Uyun,  IV,  69a  Berlin.  (3)  Bekri, 
151,  Ed.  Slane.  (4)  Abulfeda,  under  A,  H.  350;  Maqqari,  1,212.  (6)  p.  64. 
(6)  10  f . 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  3 

could  on  no  account  be  made  a  slave1. 

Nasir-i-Khusru,  in  the  5/llth  century,  travels  daunt- 
lessly  through  all  these  countries.  It  was  not  unlike  what 
happened  in  Germany  in  the  18th  century. 

The  Fatimid   Caliph,   however,  stands  in  strong  oppo- 
sition to  his  rival,   the  Abbasid  Caliph.     Outside  Africa, 
Yam  an  and   Syria  pray   for  him.    Mn  every  valley  he  has 
his  agents2'.     The     following     little   story     shows    what 
they   thought   he   could  do.     Sultan   Adad-ud-Dowlah  had 
a  silver  lion  affixed  to  the  stern  of  his  gondola  in  Baghdad. 
This  was   stolen.     In  vain   was   the  earth   turned  upside 
down  in    search   for  it.       People    conjectured    that   the 
Fatimids  had  sent   some  one  to  commit  the  theft3.    In  the 
year  401  a   Beduin  chief,   Shaikh  of  Agel,  who  held  Anbar 
and   Kufa,   went   the   length   of  causing,   under  the  very 
nose  of  the  Abbasids,  prayers  to  be  offered  for  the  Egyptian 
Caliph,    Al-Hakim,   until  he  was  brought  to  his  senses  by 
the  Buwayyid  Baha-ud-I)awlahl.     It  was  some  comfort 
to  the  Caliph  at  Baghdad  that  the  newly-risen  star,  Sultan 
Mahmud  of  Ghazni,  always     showed  great  respect,   an- 
nouced  his  victories,   detailed   his  troubles  to  him.     When 
in  the  year  403/1012  the  Fatimid  Al  Hakim   wrote  a  letter 
to  get  him  over  to  his  side,  Mahmud  sent  the   letter  to  the 
Abbasid   Caliph  after  tearing  it  and   spitting  on  it0.     Over 
Mekka  and   Medina  sharpest  was   the  friction  in  the  holy 
territory  ;   for  their  possession  was  of  much  greater  import- 
ance  then   than  before.     There  was  no   occasion  before  to 
discuss   the  insignia  of  the   true   Caliph,  but  now,  in  view 
of  the  disputes  regarding   the  position  of  the  Caliph,  the 
theory  was  put   forward  that  the   true   Caliph  was  the  one 
who  held  the  holy   territory8.     This  theory    constituted 
the  basis  of  the  claim  of  the  Ottoman  Caliphs  to  the  Cali- 
phate.    The   Tertii  Gaudentes  in   these    disputes  for  the 
possession  of  the  holy  towns   were  the  Alids,  of  whom  the 
Hasanids  had   always  been   wealthy  and  influential  round 
about   Medina.     Without  any   opposition   from   the  other 
two  powerful   claimants— the    Caliphs  of    Baghdad    and 
Egypt — the   Medinite  Alids   conquered   Mekka  about  the 
middle  of  the  4/10th   century.     But   the   thing  to  note  is 
that,  at  the  end    of  the  century,   the  holy  territory  wears 
the  same  aspect  as    it   does  to-day7 :    Mekka,  instead  of 

(1)  Only  some  sectarian  eccentrics  like  the  Karmathians  taught 
different  views.  (2)  Fihrist,  189,  (3)  Ibn  Al-Janzi,  fol.  118  a.  (4)  Ibn 
al-Atbir,  IX,  157;  Ibn  Taghribardi,  107.  (5)  Ibn  Taghribardi,  114. 
(6)  Masudi,  1,  362.  (7)  Very  great  changes  have  taken  place  since  the 
days  of  Mez.  Tr, 


4  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Medina,  becomes  the  centre  of  political  gravity,  and  the 
Sharif s  become  the  custodians  of  the  Holy  Towns1. 

Geographically  at  this  time  the  Empire  of  Islam  has 
once  more  become  purely  Oriental.  After  Charlemagne 
the  Mediterranean  had  become  a  Saracenic  sea.  At  the 
beginning  of  the  4/10th  century  the  Abbasids  successfully 
maintained  their  western  frontier  against  the  attacks  of 
the  Byzantines.  From  the  pulpits  of  the  capital,  victories 
were  exultantly  announced.  In  the  year  293/904  Muslim 
pirates  captured  Thessalonica,  second  town  of  the  Byzan- 
tine Empire,  "  a  great  town  guarded  with  walls,  outposts, 
turrets,"  and  took  22,000  inhabitants  as  slaves2. 

But  in  314/924,  with  the  occupation  of  Malatias3,  began 
the  forward  march  qf  Gieece.  In  331/941,  after  a  serious 
discussion,  and  upon  the  advice  of  the  aged  Wazir  Ali  Ibn 
Isa,  the  portrait  of  Christ,  preserved  in  Edessa,  was  made 
over  to  the  Christiians  by  way  of  ransom  for  Muslim  war- 
prisoners.  With  great  eclat  it  was  brought  to  Hagia  Sophia4. 
Masudi  mourns  over  the  weakness  of  Islam  in  his  days. 
He  laments  the  victories  of  the  Eomans  over  the  faithful; 
the  desolation  of  the  roads  used  by  pilgrims;  the  cessation 
of  the  holy  war.  Victorious  has  Islam  been  hitherto, 
says  he,  but  now  is  its  stately  column  broken,  its  founda- 
tion overthrown.  "  Such  is  the  case  in  332/942  in  the  Cali- 
phate of  Muttaqi,  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful.  May 
God  improve  our  condition5 ! " 

In  this  century  the  Byzantine  Empire  had  the  good 
fortune  of  having  at  its  head  three  extraordinarily  able 
generals,  following  one  another  in  succession :  Nicephorus 
Phokas,  John  Zimiskes  and  Basil  Bulgaroktonas6.  The 
last,  by  far  the  ablest  of  the  three,  ruled  for  55  years.  In 
350/961  Nicephorus  conquered  Crete,  the  chief  centre  of 
Muslim  pirates,  after  an  eight  months '  siege.  Five  years 
later  fell  Cyprus,  and  with  it  passed  away  the  unquestioned 
supremacy  of  Islam  in  the  Mediterranean.  In  351/962 
Nicephorus  marched  into  Aleppo.  Mopsuesta  surren- 
dered in  354/965  and  finally  Tarsus,  the  strongest  bulwark 
of  Islam,  after  the  inhabitants  had  been  reduced  to  live 
upon  dead  bodies  for  food7.  In  357/968  Nicephoius 
conquered  Hainah,  Emesa  and  Laodicea.  In  the  winter 

(1)  Snouck-Hurgronje,  Mekkah,  1,  69. 

(2)  Joannes    Cameniata,    one    of    the    prisoners,    Corpus    Script. 
Historiae  Byzant.    Bonn,    491,  589.     (3)   Misk,  V,  249.  (4)  Yahya  ibn 
Said,  98. 

(5)     Masudi,  II  43  et  sqq. 

Finlay,    History  of  Greece,  Vol.  II.  pp.  323  et  sqq.  Tr, 
Yahya  ibn  Said,  123 ;  Misk,  VI,  254,  272. 


w/ 

(6) 
(7) 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  5 

following  fell  the  apparently  invincible  Antioch1.  When 
in  the  year  36^/972  Mesopotamia  was  fearfully  devastated, 
and  even  Nisibin  was  plundered,  the  people  rose  at  Baghdad 
with  the  lage  of  despair  and  the  Mesopotamian  and  Syrian 
fugitives  stopped  religious  services,  broke  up  pulpits,  and 
attacked  the  Caliph's  residence  at  such  close  quarters  that 
they  could  be  shot  at  from  the  windows  of  the  palace2. 
In  the  year  363/974  Baalbec  and  Beyrut  were  captured. 
From  Beyrut  the  miracle-working  statue  of  Christ  was 
taken  by  the  Conqueror  and  placed  in  one  of  the  palaces 
of  Constantinople.  Damascus  escaped  on  payment  of  an 
annual  war  tax  of  6,000  dinars*. 

In  the  south,  however,  the  Muslims  maintained  the 
Nubian  frontier  of  the  quondam  Imperhim  Romanum. 
In  the  year  332/943  Masudi  writing  from  Egypt  says : 
the  Nubians  pay  to  the  Empire  up  to  to-day  a  tribute 
which  they  call  baqt  (pactum).  It  is  made  over  to  the 
representative  of  the  Egyptian  governor  in  Assuan4.  In 
the  year  344/955  the  Nubians  even  lost  their  frontier  town 
Ibrim  (Priinis)5.  In  the  extreme  south-west  Andagust, 
the  great  commercial  emporium  of  the  Western  Sahara, 
already  becomes  a  Muslim  town,  and  constitutes  the  most 
advanced  post  towards  Central  Africa0. 

The  retreat  in  the  West  corresponds  to  a  steady  advance 
in  the  East.  In  the  year  313/925  Baluchistan,  hitherto 
heathen,  was  conquered7.  In  the  year  349/960  the  in- 
mates of  20,000  Turkish  tents  accept  Islam5.  And  while 
at  the  end  of  the  3/9th  century  the  last  town  of  the  Empire, 
so  far  as  the  Turks  were  concerned,  was  Asfigab;  the  ad- 
mission of  Bogra  Khans  into  the  circle  of  Muslim  princes 


(1)  Yahya,  131 ;  Michel  Syrus,  551. 

(2)  Yahya,  140 ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  104  c ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  455 ;  Abul 
Mahasin,  II,  436. 

(3)  Yahya,  145.  cf.  Jean  Eberaolt,  Le  grand  palais  de  Constantinople. 
Paris,  1910.  p.  22. 

(4)  Masudi.  III.  39. 

(5)  Yahya,  114 ;  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  1,  198. 

(6)    According  to  Mahallabi,  writing  in  the  70th  year  of  the  4/10th 
century,  even  in  Bankan,  on  the  river  Niger,  the  King  and  the  majority 
of  the  people  are  said  to  be  Muslims  (Yaqut.  IV,  329).  But  In  Bekri  and 
Ibn  Sa'id  (who  comes  later)  they  are  called  heathens. 
.      (7)    Misk,  V,  249. 

(8)    Misk.  VI,  240;  Kit-al-Uyvn,  IV,  fol  67a. 


6  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

pushed  the  frontier  on  to  the  basis  of  Tarin1. 

For  Mukaddasi  the  empire  of  Islam  extends  right  up 
to  Kashghar2,  and  in  the  year  397/1006  Khotan  is  Muslim. 
At  this  very  time  Malimud  of  Ghazni  sets  out  on  his  con- 
quering expenditions  and  subdues  large  tracts  in  India  for 
Islam.  "The  token  of  alliance  with  Indian  Kings  was  the 
cutting  off  of  a  finger."  Mahamud  had  a  collection  of 
many  such  fingers:j. 

Whether  the  dissolution  of  the  Abbasid  Caliphate  into 
fragments  means  a  downward  course  to  us,  who  merely 
judge  by  quantity  and  the  so-called  unity,  is  beside  the 
question  here.  World-empires  depend  for  their  existence 
either  upon  a  gifted  ruler  or  upon  a  brutal  caste — in  either 
case  they  are  unnatural. 

The  Egypt  of  the  Ikhshidids,  the  Kafurs  and  the  Fati- 
mids  does  not  convey  a  bad  impression  ;  even  the  Sama- 
nids  in  the  East  receive  a  good  testimony4.  But  bad 
times  had  come  over  Baghdad. 

For  the  first  time  in  315/927  the  town  fell  into  the 
hands  of  ruffians  who  became  more  and  more  audacious 
with  the  progressive  weakness  of  the  Government5.  The 
very  worst  times  were  those  which  intervened  between 
the  death  of  Bagkams  and  the  entry  of  the  Buwayyids, 
329-334  (940-945  A.  D.). 

Like  a  presage  of  the  fall  of  the  Caliphate,  the  great 
dome  of  the  palace  of  Mansur  came  crashing  down  in  a 
tremendous  storm  in  the  year  329/940 — the  dome  which 
constituted  the  crown  and  glory  of  Baghdad0. 

In  the  year  331/942  Ibn  Hamdi,  chief  of  a  robber  band, 
plundered  the  town  under  the  protection  of  Ibn  Shirzad 
who,  as  Secretary  to  the  Turkish  Commander-in-Chief, 
stood  at  the  head  of  the  Government.  From  his  and  his 
companions'  share  of  the  booty  Ibn  Hamdi  had  to  make  a 


(1)  Yaqubi,  BG  VII,  295.  By  a  later  Persian  writer  the  town  is 
identified  as  Sairam,  17  Km.  east  of  Kunkent.  This  agrees  with  the 
position  assigned  to  it  by  Ibn  Khurdadbih.  This  identification  is 
accepted  by  Levih  (Archteological  Journey  to  Turkistan,  p.  35J  and  by 
Grenard  (JA  1900,  t,  15,  p.  27.)  But  this  is  improbable  as  Sam'ani 
who  knew  Central  Asia  very  well  speaks  of  Asfigab  as  a  large  town 
(in  Abulfeda,  Geogr.  ed.  Remand,  p.  494).  Yaqnt  (1,250)  expressly 
reports  that  in  616/1219  Asfigab  was  destroyed  by  the  Mpgols  but  Ghau- 
ohung  in  Nov.  1221  visits  the  town  of  Sailan,  (Bretschneider,  Mediaeval 
Researches,  1,  74).  (2)  p.  64.  (3)  Jauzi,  fol.  18b,  (4)  Ibn  Haukal,  341 
et  sqq. 

(5)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  125. 

(6)  Jauai,  fol.  67a ;   Kit-al-Uyun,  IV,  190a. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  1 

monthly  payment  of  15,000  dinars  to  Ibn  Shirzad  for  which 
he  received  regular  receipts  and  statements  of  account. 

Thus  the  citizens  kept  guard  with  signal  trumpets  and 
could  no  longer  sleep  in  peace1.  Houses  in  the  town  were 
deserted  and  their  owners  actually  paid  money  to  people 
to  live  therein  and  keep  them  in  repair.  Many  baths  and 
mosques  were  shut  up".  To  these  was  added  the  eternal 
strife  between  Sunnah  and  Shiah,  accompanied  by  constant 
incendiarism.  The  large  conflagration  of  362/972  reduced 
300  shops  and  33  mosques  to  ashes  and  destroyed  17,000 
lives.  It  is  said  to  have  .been  caused  by  the  government 
itself  to  end  the  town  fights.  Thus  began  the  migration 
to  the  eastern  side  of  the  town  which  even  to-day  is  by  far 
the  more  populous3.  In  the  following  year  Ibp  Shirzad 
succeeded  the  Gommander-in-Chief  on  his  death.  He 
imposed  such  heavy  taxes  that  many  merchants  left  the 
town.  The  insecurity  became  so  appalling  that  robbers 
broke  into  the  house  of  a  Qadhi  who,  in  climbing  the  roof, 
to  effect  his  escape,  fell  down  and  was  killed1. 

In  Mukaddasi's  time  Baghdad  had  vacant  spaces  and 
sparse  population  which  dwindled  day  by  day.  1  fear, 
says  he,  that  it  will  become  like  Samarra1'. 

That  part  of  the  town  which  formerly,  at  noon,  was  the 
centre  of  a  lively  concourse  of  traders  and  customers; 
namely,  the  coiner  where  the  cobblers,  and  cotton 
traders'  streets  met,  was  in  393/1000  the  playground  of 
sparrows  and  pigeons6.  Larger  and  more  populous  than 
Baghdad  was  then  the  capital  of  Egypt.  It  has  remained 
since  the  greatest  town  of  Islam. 


(1)  Kit-al-Uvun,IV,  205b. 

(2)  Jatizi,  72a. 

(3)  Yahya  141 ;   Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  462. 

(4)  Kit,al-Uyun,  IV,  229a. 

(5)  Mukaddasi,  (Eng.  tr.  by  Azoo)  p.  120,  Tr. 

(6)  Wnz.  116.  Le.  Strange,  Baghdad,  p.  77.  Tr. 


II.    THE  CALIPHS. 

When,  in  the  year  295/907,  a  vacancy  of  the  throne 
\vas  imminent  the  Wazir  one  day  rode  home  from  the 
palace,  accompanied,  as  usual,  by  one  of  the  four  chief 
ministers.  He  discussed  with  him  the  question  of  suc- 
cession to  the  Caliphate.  Personally  he  declared  for  the 
son  of  the  Caliph  Al-Mutazz  but  the  other — the  later 
Wazir  Ibn  Al-Furat — dissuaded  him  from  his  choice, 
arguing  that  one  should  not  choose  as  Caliph  him  who 
knows  the  house  of  one,  the  land  of  another,  and  the 
garden  of  -the  third,  who  is  affable  and  courteous  to  people, 
who  knows  life  and  has  grown  wise  by  experience.  He 
suggested  the  young  prince  Al-Muqtadir.  The  Wazir  real- 
ized the  position  and  Al-Muqtadir  was  duly  raised  to  the 
throne1 — a  boy  of  thirteen  whose  sole  joy  consisted  in 
obtaining  holidays  from  school2. 

By  reason  of  minority  his  election  was,  infact,  illegal, 
and  an  honest  Qadhi  actually  lost  his  life  for  concientious 
scruples  to  do  homage  to  him  on  that  ground3.  But  the 
mandarins  had  miscalculated.  The  boy's  mother — a 
Greek  slave — ruled  firmly  with  her  party ;  appointed 
and  dismissed ;  and  prevented  plunder  of  the  State- 
treasury.  Her  stiength  of  character  is  revealed  by  the 
way  in  which  she  guided  the  studies  of  her  grandsons. 
While  the  later  Caliph  Al-Eadhi  sat  reading  his  books, 
there  came  the  eunuchs1  of  his  grandmother  with  a 
white  piece  of  cloth.  They  wrapped  the  books  therein 
and  left  the  prince  angrily  behind.  After  two  hours  they 
brought  back  the  books  in  precisely  the  same  condition 
in  which  they  had  taken  them.  Thereupon  the  prince 
said  to  them  :  "Tell  him  who  enjoined  you  to  do  what 
you  have  done  that  these  are  purely  learned  and  useful 
books  on  Hm  theology,  jurisprudence,  poetry,  philology, 
history,  and  are  not  what  you  read,  stories  of  the  Sea,  the 
history  of  Sindbad  and  the  fable  of  the  Cat  and  the 
Mouse."  Suli,  the  prince's  friend,  who  related  this  story, 
fearing  lest  they  should  report  who  was  with  him  and  the 

(1)     Kitab-al-Uyun>    IV,    58  (b).     (2)    Wuz.    116,     (3)     Arib,  28 
(4)    See  the  interesting  note  of  Burton  on  eunuchs.  Arabian  Nights, 
Vol.  L,  70  Supplemental  Nights.  TE, 


THE  ItENAlSSANCE  OF  ISLAM  9 

consequences  of  such  a  report,  went  up  to  the  eunuchs 
and  begged  them  not  to  convey  the  prince's  message. 
They  rejoined :  We  have  not  understood  the  learned 
message,  how  are  we  to  repeat  it1  ?  Deposed  by  rebels 
twice  for  a  couple  of  days  or  so,  Muqtadir  sat  for  twenty- 
five  years  on  the  throne,  but  always  under  the  shadow  of 
his  mother.  Compelled  by  his  retinue,  but  contrary  to 
her  and  his  own  wishes,  once  and  only  once  did  he  under- 
take a  campaign.  He  fell  in  battle.  His  head  was  cut 
off ;  his  dress,  even  the  mantle  of  the  Prophet,  was  torn 
off;  and  a  soldier,  out  of  sheer  campassion,  covered  his 
bare  body  with  a  heap  of  grass.  Of  stout  build,  rather 
undersized,  of  pale  complexion,  he  had  small  eyes  with 
large  pupils,  a  handsome  face  and  a  fine  reddish  beard'3. 
Everything  that  is  reported  of  him  points  to  a  sweetness 
and  gentleness  of  disposition.  When  the  Wazir  reported 
to  him  that  a  monthly  grant  of  300  dinars  was  made  for 
musk  in  his  food  and  yet  the  Caliph  took  no  biscuits  or  at 
least  but  a  few,  he  laughed  and  forbade  retrenchment,  on 
the  ground  that  people  perhaps  needed  money  for  other 
necessary  expenses3. 

But  he  was  fond  of  wine4. 

His  half-brother  al-Qadir  was  chosen  because,  unlike 
him,  he  was  not  a  minor,  nor  had  he  a  mother  to  take  him 
under  her  wing5.  He,  also,  was  stoutly  buiJt  and  was 
of  reddish  complexion.  He  had  large  eyes,  a  thick  beard 
and  was  slow  of  speech6.  When  the  insurrection  of  317/929, 
which  had  set  him  up  as  Counter-Caliph,  was  quelled,  he 
crying  Nafsi,  Nafai,  Allah,  Allah,  begged  his  brother  for 
his  life7.  But  he  himself  is  said  to  have  been  a  hard 
drinker,  a  miser,  a  hypocrite  and  prompt  at  shedding 
blood8.  He  managed  to  rid  himself  of  the  Commander- 
in-Chief,  Munis,  and  succeeded  in  effecting  considerable 
retrenchments9.  But,  as  he  would  not  voluntarily 
abdicate,  he  was  blinded,  and  was,  indeed,  the  first  of  the 
Caliphs  and  Princes  of  Islam  to  endure  that  fate10.  This 
practice  was  learnt  from  the  Byzantines.  After  this 
incident  he  lived  for  seventeen  long  years  in  the  home 
where  he  had  resided  as  a  Prince.  He  is  said  to  have 
become  so  poor  that  he  could  not  afford  anything  but  a 

(1)  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  Paris,  4836,  p.  9.  7*. 

(2)  Masudi,    Tanbih,  377 ;  Misk,  V,  379.    Arib    1,76;  Kit.al-Uyun, 
IV   129a.     (3)  Wuz.352.     (4)     Dhahabi,     Tarikh    al- Islam.   Amedroz, 
Kit.al-Wuzara,  p.  11.  (6)  Arib,  181.  (6)  Masudi,  Tanbih,  388:  Kit.al-Uyun 
IV,141b.  (7)  Kit.al-Dyttn,  IV,  123  b.    (8)  Masudi,    Tanbih,  388  ;    Misk, 
V,  424 ;  Arib  185.     (9)  Misk,  IV,  419.     Masudi,  Tanbih,  388. 

(10)     Ibn  al-Athir.  VIII,  333. 


10  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

cotton  coat  and  a  wooden  sandal  (qabqab  khashab1). 
Walking  in  his  simple  garb  and  with  his  face  covered, 
he  was  yet,  once,  recognized  as  a  former  Caliph  by  a 
Hashimite  who  presented  him  with  a  thousand  dirhams 
and  accompanied  him  home2. 

His  nephew  Al-Badhi  (322-29/933-940)  was  only  25 
when  proclaimed  Caliph.  He  was  thin,  short  of  stature, 
and  brown  in  complexion.  He  had  a  sharp  chin  and  a 
snub  nose3.  He  understood  and  loved  poetry  and  song, 
and  has  left  behind  a  collection  of  his  own  poems.  He 
was  a  collector  of  crystal  ware,  and  spent  more  on  it 
than  on  anything  else4.  Besides,  he  had  a  passion  for 
pulling  down  old  and  erecting  new  buildings  in  their  places. 
Specially  fond  was  he  of  laying  out  gardens5.  He  was 
very  generous  by  nature,  but  his  limited  means  prevented 
free  scope  to  his  generosity.  His  people  once  found  him 
sitting  on  a  coil  of  rope,  watching  building  operations. 
He  invited  them  to  take  their  scats  on  other  coils  by  his 
side:  This  done,  he  ordered  each  coil  to  be  weighed  and  its 
weight  paid  to  the  occupant  in  gold  and  silver  pieces0. 

A  learned  man  raved  before  him  of  a  beautiful  girl 
ho  had  seen  with  a  slave-dealer.  On  return  home  he 
found  the  girl  waiting  there  for  him.  The  Caliph,  had  pur- 
chased her  for  him7.  Only  one  fault  did  his  friends  find 
with  him ;  he  gave  himself  up  to  too  much  pleasure  and, 
contrary  to  the  advice  of  his  physician,  overfed  himself*. 
He  died  at  the  age  of  32,  after  having  made  all  necessary 
preparations  for  the  washing  of  his  dead  body.  He  ordered 
the  coffin  to  be  prepared  and  even  chose  his  shroud.  He 
put  them  in  a  box  with  the  inscription  :  Preparations  for 
the  other  world1'. 

His  reign,  however,  did  not  quite  pass  off  unstained 
by  blood.  Cunningly  he  lured  Ibn  Maqlah,  the  former 
Wazir,  into  a  trap  ;  had  a  number  of  his  relatives  arrested 
and  killed ;  of  course,  only  such  as  had  aspired  to  the 
throne  after  him  or  had  caused  homage  to  be  done  already10. 

In  his  twenty-sixtli  year  his  half-brother  Al-Muttaqi 
ascended  the  throne.  He,  too,  was  of  stout  build,of  fair 
complexion,  with  round  blue  eyes,  with  meeting  eye- 
brows, short  nose  and  reddish  hair11.  He  did  not  indulge 

(1)  Kit.al-Ui/un9  IV,  120a.  (2)  Masudi  Tanbih.  388;  Kit.al-Uyun,  183b. 
(3)  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  27.  (4)  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  27.  (5)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol. 
54a.  (&)  Ibn  al-Janzi  fol.  54a.  (7)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  54*,  according  to 
Al-Suli.  (8)  Ho  suffered  from  stomach  troubles.  (9)  Kitab-al-Uyun,  IV, 
182a.  (10)  Kitab-al-Uuun.IV,  220a,  (11)  Masudi,  Tanbih,  397,  Kit.al- 
IV,  220a. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  11 

in  wine.  He  zealously  fasted  and  gave  no  entertainments. 
His  only  companion  was  the  Qur'an  none  else  would  he 
have  besides  it1.  But  ill-luck  never  forsook  him.  On 
the  night  before  his  circumcision  a  bath  collapsed, 
killing  the  slave-girls  who  were  preparing  themselves  for 
the  festivity.  All  his  chamberlains  suddenly  died,  with 
the  result  that  no  one  cared  to  accept  service  under  him. 
When  at  a  celebration  on  the  Tigris  he  drove  through  the 
town  and  the  crowd  cheered  him,  a  scaffolding  gave  way, 
and  later  a  number  of  courtiers,  women  and  children  were 
drowned  by  the  river  suddenly  overflowing  its  banks2. 
Even  when  on  the  throne  this  ill-luck  persistently  dogged 
his  footsteps.  He  was  the  first  Caliph  who,  seeking 
for  help,  left  the  Town  of  Peace1'  and  roamed  about  with 
the  defeated  Hamadanids  in  Mesopotamia.  He  refused 
the  protection  of  the  Egyptian  Ikhshidids.  The  Turkish 
general,  whom  he  trusted,  betrayed  him  for  600,000  dirhams 
which  a  pretender  to  the  throne  had  offered  him,  and  had 
him  blinded  by  an  Indian  slave4.  He  lived  for  24  years 
after  this  tragedy  and  died  in  his  own  house5.  His 
successor  Al-Mustakfi,  who  waded  to  the  throne  in  shame  and 
infamy,  was  the  son  of  a  Greek  slave-girl6.  He  had  a  fair 
complexion,  long  nose,  big  eyes,  small  mouth,  a  full  beard. 
He  was  corpulent  and  rather  tall.  He  had  a  strong  liking 
for  negro  women7.  Situated  as  he  was  between  a  grasping 
wife,  whose  intrigues  had  raised  him  to  the  throne,  and  the 
Turks  actually  ruling  the  town,  he  could  hardly  be  happy. 
Finally  came  the  Buwayyids,  who,  at  the  very  first 
conference,  forced  upon  him  a  Wazir  whom  he  had  sworn 
never  to  appoint.  The  Chamberlain  Duka  thus  relates  : 
I  was  present  on  this  occasion.  Resisting,  the  Caliph 
yielded.  But  I  saw  his  eyes  full  of  tears  at  the  strangeness 
of  the  demand5.  When  on  the  point  of  being  deposed, 
he  voluntarily  abdicated  on  condition  that  none  of  his 
limbs  was  maimed  or  mangled9.  But  his  succcessor, 
brother  of  his  predecessor,  in  revenge  for  what  had  been 
done  to  his  brother,  had  him  blinded.  No  one  was  prepared 
to  execute  this  punishment.  A  slave,  however,  whom  he 
had  once  caused  to  be  whipped  when  Caliph,  undertook 
the  task10.  The  later  Caliphs  reconciled  themselves  to  a 
position  of  inactivity,  and  thus  managed  nominally  to 
rule  for  long  years.  After  a  stroke  of  apoplexy  Al-MutT 


(lTlbnal-Jauzi,66b.  (2)  Kitab-al-  Uyun,  IV  221b.  (3)  Ibn 
VIII,  304.  (4)  Kitab-al-Uyun,  219a.  (5)  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  .  101. 
(6)  Masudi,  Tanbih,  398;  Kitab-al-Uyunt  IV,  22atmerely  mentions  her 
as  a  slave.  (7)  Kitab-al-Uyun,  IV,  239a.  (8)  Kit.al-Uyun>  IV,232a. 
(9)  Ibid,  IV,  238a.  (10)  Ibid,  IV.  238b  :  - 


12  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

resigned  in  favour  of  his  son — Al-Ta'i — who  was  deposed 
in  the  eighteenth  year  of  his  rule.  For  twelve  years  he 
lived  after  his  deposition  in  honourable  captivity  under  his 
successor.  Very  little  is  known  of  these  later  Caliphs. 
Al-Muti's  mother,  a  slave  of  Slavonic  nationality,  was  more 
famous  than  her  son.  She  was  a  whistler.  *  With  a  petal 
in  her  mouth  she  warbled  wondrous  notes  with  remarkable 
skill.  She  could  imitate  all  singing  birds1. 

Al-Ta'i  was  strong  and  handsome  and  of  fair  complexion. 
He  held  at  bay  a  powerful  stag,  which  knocked  every  one 
down  and  which  no  one  dared  to  touch,  until  the 
carpenter  removed  his  horns2. 

Al-Qadir  was  pious  and  kind;  two-thirds  of  his  meals 
he  distributed  to  different  mosques*.  He  used  to  dye  his 
long  beard ;  put  on  ordinary  dress  ;  visit  with  the  people 
the  sanctuaries  of  the  saints  at  Baghdad,  such  as  those 
of  Ma'ruf  and  Ibn  Bessar,  and  indulge  in  all  kinds  of  ad- 
ventures. He  oven  wrote  a  theological  work,  in  the  ortho 
dox  Sunni  strain,  which  was  read  out  every  Friday  in  the 
circle  of  theologians  in  the  mosque  of  Mahdi4. 

Against  these  fleeting  shadows  the  splendid  succession 
of  the  African  Caliphs  stands  out  in  striking  contrast. 
From  the  very  beginning  among  them,  the  Caliphate  passed 
from  sire  to  son.  This  practice  was  their  salvation; 
for  it  spared  them  blood-stained  disputes  regarding  the 
succession.  To  this  was  added  a  statesmanlike  attitude 
in  their  dealings.  When  the  Governor  of  Syria  wrote 
direct  to  Al-Muizz  (341-366/952-975),  ignoring  the  legiti- 
mate channels,  the  Caliph  took  him  to  task  and  returned 
the  letter  with  unbroken  seals.  The  most  brilliant  of 
these  Caliphs  was  Al-Aziz  (365-386/975-996).  Stalwart, 
of  tawny  complexion,  with  reddish  hair  and  large  blue 
eyes,  a  dauntless  hunter,  a  connoisseur  of  horses  and  pre- 
cious stones,  he  is  the  first  example  of  that  large-hearted 
Saracenic  chivalry  which  made  so  deep  and  lasting  an 
impression  upon  the  West.  The  Caliph  beat  and  captured 
the  Turkish  leader  who  had  conquered  Ascalon  and  had 
caused  the  Egyptian  army  to  pass  under  a  bare  sword, 
but  he  took  no  revenge  upon  him.  In  fact,  he  made  over 
his  own  tent  to  him  ;  supplied  him  with  horses;  met  all 
his  needs  ;  returned  his  signet  to  him  and  allowed  him  the 
company  of  his  friends  among  the  prisoners  of  war.  At 

(1)    Kit.   al-Uyun,   IV    240.  (2)    Ibn  al-Jauzi,    fol.     106a. 

(3)     Ibn  al-Jauzi,  132b.       (4)     Ibn  al-Jauzi,  132a ;  Al-Subki  III,  2. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  13 

the  first  interview  he  caused  a  cup  of  syrup  to  be  handed 
over  to  him  and  when  the  Turk  hesitated,  thinking  that 
it  might  perchance  contain  poison,  the  Caliph  drank  first1. 

And,  finally,   there  looms  on  the  horizon  the  extraordi- 
nary  figure   of   Hakim !    Sometimes  he   sat   by  day  with 
candle   light ;  sometimes  he   spent  the  night  in  darkness2. 
As  he   loved,    with  a  few  companions,    to  roam  about   the 
streets  of  Old  Cairo  at  night,  the  merchants  kept  their  shops 
open   and   well-lighted.      And  thus    the   Bazars   were  as 
lively   at   night   as   they  were   during   the   day*.      Except 
those  that   were  used  for  hunting,  he  ordered  all   dogs  to 
be  destroyed,  as  their  barking   disturbed  him  in  his  nightly 
adventures4.      When   a   disease  unfitted   him   to  ride,  he 
had  himself  carried   by   four  men  in  a  litter — restless,  ill  ' 
at  ease  by  day  and  by  night.     On   these    occasions   he  re- 
ceived prayers  and  petitions  in   which   only  one   line   on  a 
page   was  permitted  to  be   written.     The  petitioners  were 
only   allowed   to   approach  him   on  his  right  side.     He  or- 
dered them  to  present   themselves  at  a  certain  place  on  the 
following  day.     He  kept  his  orders  and  gifts  in  his   sleeve 
and  personally  distributed   them  among   the  petitioners5. 
He  never  put  a  curb  on  expenses.     He  was  lavish  and  kind 
to  his  people.     Law  and  justice   reigned  triumphant   under 
him.     And   yet  no   great   man  was   quite   sure  of  his   life, 
for  he   pounced  upon  his   best  friends   with   a  morbid  sud- 
denness.    Much   as  he  liked  the   black   eunuch  Ain,  he  yet 
had  his  right  hand  cut  off.     But   this  did  not  prevent  the 
bestowal   of  favours    upon   him.     He,     indeed,    conferred 
the  most   honourable   titles   upon  him   and   installed   him 
in  most  responsible   offices.     Suddenly,   one   day,   he  cut 
out  his   tongue,    only  to   reward  him   afterwards  yet  more 
lavishly6.     Of  his   whimsical  treatment   of   Christians  and 
Jews  hereafter. 

Towards  the  end  he  roamed  about  in  the  desert ; 
allowed  his  hair  to  grow  until  it  reached  his  shoulders ; 
never  trimmed  his  nails ;  never  changed  his  black  woollen 
mantle  and  blue  head  cloth  reeking  with  dust  and  per- 
spiration. 

The  learned  Christian  Yahya  compared  him  to  Neb- 
uchadnezzar who,  after  the  manner  of  the  beasts  of  the 
field,  lived  with  nails  like  the  claws  of  eagles  and  hair 


(1)     Yahya  ibn  Said,  155.     (2)  Ibn   Tagharibardi,  63.     (3)   Yahya 
ibn  Sa'id,  185.  (4)  Yahya,  188.  (5)  Yahya,  217.  (6)  Yahya,  218 


14  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

,  like  a  lion's  mane  because  he  had  destroyed  the  Lord's 
Temple.  Yahya  was  considerate  enough,  however,  in 
describing  the  Caliph's  disease  as  melancholia,  and  said 
that  they  should  have  put  him  into  a  bath  of  violet  oil 
to  impregnate  his  withered  brain  with  sweet  scented 
moisture. 


III.    THE  PRINCES  OP  THE  EMPIRE. 

Their  title  is  Amir.  Even  the  royal  princes  were  so 
called— only  the  eunuch  Kafur  in  Egypt  felt  quite  content 
with  the  appellation  of  '  Ustad1 '.  The  Amir-al-Omara, 
at  the  court  of  the  Caliph,  originally  had  no  connexion 
with  this  title.  He  was  the  Commander-in-Chief.  This 
title  was  also  borne  by  the  Field-Marshal  Munis,  who  never 
considered  himself  of  the  rank  of  a  prince.  For  the  princes 
of  the  Empire  there  was  no  official  mark  of  distinction. 
Prayer  was  offered  for  them  in  the  mosque,  as  to  the  gover- 
nor, after  prayer  for  the  Caliph.  Only  in  Babylonia,  where 
the  Commander  of  the  Faithful  himself  resided  and  person- 
ally carried  on  the  administration,  was  it  deemed  derog- 
atory to  his  dignity  to  mention  the  name  of  any  other 
along  with  his  at  the  service  in  the  mosque.  In  the  year 
323/934  the  Chief  Chamberlain,  Mohammed  ibn  Yaqut,  had 
already  arrogated  all  powers  to  himself,  and  compelled 
the  ministers  to  report  everything  to  him  and  to  do 
nothing  except  over  his  signature.  The  result  was  that 
the  Wazir  was  reduced  to  a  shadow,  without  work  or 
authority2.  When  the  preachers  of  Baghdad  prayed  for 
him  the  Caliph  dismissed  them  all3.  In  the  following  year, 
however,  the  Caliph  had  to  yield,  and  the  name  of  Ibn 
Raiq  was  openly  mentioned  in  the  prayers  at  the  mosques. 
This  meant  the  acknowledgment  of  a  prince  undei  him  in 
Babylonia4. 


[1]  Yahya,  124.  In  tho  East  '  Ustad '  was  the  title  of  Wazira. 
Ibn  al-Amir  is  so  called  [Misk,  vi,  220] ;  another,  Ibn  Taghribardi  34. 
Today  the  coachman  is  called  '  Ustad '  in  Cairo.  In  India  the  word 
'  Ustad  *  is  used  for  a  teacher — teachers  of  all  kinds,  Tr. 

[2]    Misb.  V,  474. 

[3]     Al-Suli,  Auraq,  83. 

[4]  '  Sultan/  at  this  time,  is  only  used  of  the  Caliph  and  Dar-us 
Sultan  is  the  palace  of  the  Caliph  at  Baghdad.  The  statement  of  Ibn 
Khaldun  [III,  420]  that  Muizz-ud-Dawlah  adopted  the  title  of  '  Sultan ' 
is  incorrect.  According  to  the  later  Egyptian  writer  Abul  Mahasin 
[II,  252]  the  special  title  of  the  rulers  of  Egypt  was  at  first  Pharaoh 
and  later  *  Sultan/  Even  al-Zuhri  [9/15th  century]  thinks  that  the  only 
rulers  legitimately  entitled  to  that  title  are  those  of  Egypt.  This  fits 
in  with  the  word  'Soldan/  current  in  mediaeval  Europe,  to  signify 
the  ruler  of  Egypt.  The  later  Amirs  of  Baghdad  do  not  seem  to  have 
been  mentioned  in  prayers  until  Adad-ud-Dawlah  in  368/979  received 
this  honour  which  no  king  had  had  before  or  after.  Misk,  VI,  499 


16  THE  ItENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Among  these  princes  the  Hamadanids  strike  us  as 
representatives  of  the  worst  class  of  Beduins  (Lane-Poole, 
Mohammadan  Dynasties  pp.  111-13  A.  H.  (317-394/929 
-1003).  On  the  occasion  of  the  conference  at  Mosul, 
the  Caliph  Radhi  took  up  his  residence  in  a  house  and  so 
did  his  Commander-in-Chief  Ibn  Kaiq  ;  whilst  the  Hama- 
danid  pitched  his  lent  by  the  cloister.  You  are  mere 
Beduins,  said  Ibn  Raiq,  contemptuously  to  the  Hama- 
danid  (Kit.  al-Uyun  IV,  182  b).  Of  their  bad  government, 
their  plundering  propensities,  their  oppression  of  the  peas- 
antry, their  destruction  of  trees,  their  constant  violations 
of  engagements  and  promises,  we  shall  speak  elsewhere. 
The  founder  of  the  dynasty  treacherously  murdered  the 
Wazir  who  had  accompanied  him  on  a  pleasure-ride 
(Kit.al-Uyun,  IV,  60-a)  and  Nasir-ad-Dawlah,  in  a  cowardly 
fashion,  killed  Ibn  Raiq  in  his  own  Hamadanid  tent1. 
In  their  own  house  strife  and  insubordination  were  rife. 
Not  merely  flagrantly  so  in  the  Mesopotamian  branch,  but 
elsewhere  as  well — as  shown  by  the  murder  of  Abu  Firas 
by  his  nephew,  the  son  of  Saif-ad-Dawlah J.  Among  them 
it  was  only  Saif-ad-Dawlah  who  was  distinguished  by 
brilliant  achievements  and  a  certain  degree  of  chivalry. 
The  Greek  authors  note  that  he  often  fell  into  tactical  errors 
because  he  was  too  conceited  and  never  asked  any  one  for 
advice  lest  it  might  be  said  that  he  conquered  through 
others  (Abulfeda,  Annales,  under  349).  But  despite  his 
brilliant  achievements  he  was  always  defeated  by  the 
Turkish  Cheifs  Tuzun  and  Begkem. 

Out  of  the  old  Empire  the  Baridis,  likewise,  carved 
their  fortune3. 

(1)  Misk,  60;  VI,  Kit.al-Uyim,  IV,  182b. 

(2)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  334 ;  Ibn  Khali,  according   to   Tbabit  ibn 
Sinan,  See  Dvorak,  Abn  Firas,  114  sqq. 

(3)  "Al-Baridi.    This  nisba   was  borne  by  three  brothers,  Abu'Abd 
Allah  Ahmad,  Abu  Ynsuf   Ya'kub   and  Abu   '1-Husain,  who   played  an 
important  part  in  the  period  of  the  decline  of  the  Abbasid  Caliphate  under 
al-Muktadir  and  his  successors.     The  head  of  this  family  was  the  first 
mentioned  Abu'Abd  Allah,  who,  not  content  with  the  unimportant  offices 
which  the  Caliph's   vizier  'Ali  b.     'Isa  had   given  him  and  his  brothers, 
obtained  from  his  successor  Ibn  Mukla  (q.  v.)  the  government  of  the  pro- 
vince of  al-Ahwaz  and  other  important  offices  for  his   brothers  in  return 
for  a  present  of  20,000  dirhams  (316/928).   They  managed  to  make   such 
good  use  of  their  opportunities   that   when  they   were  involved   in    the 
fall  of  the  viaier  scarcely  two  years  later   the  ransom    of   400,000  dinars 
demanded  for  their  freedom   by  Muktadir  was  paid   without  difficulty. 
After   the  assassination  of    al-Muktadir  in   320  (932),  Abu   'And    Allah 
was  able  to  do  as  he  pleased  and  by  unheard  of  extortions  and  deeds   of 
violence  to  enrich  himself,   while  his  brothers  were  restored  to  their 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM  17 

For  long  they  were  the  actual  rulers  of  Babylon.  More 
like  secretaries  than  soldiers  (Misk,  VI,  154),  they  yet 
boldly  fought  many  a  time.  In  greed  and  short-shighted- 
ness  they  did  not  yield  to  the  Hamadanids.  The  first 
really  disastrous  time  for  Baghdad  was  the  year  330/941 
when  a  Baridi  conquered  Baghdad  and  the  Caliph  fled 
to  Mosul.  Already  in  March  he  raised  the  land-tax,  op- 
pressed the  landlords,  imposed  heavy  capitation  taxes  on 

offices  and  did  likewise.  This  continued  in  the  reign  of  the  Caliph  al- 
Eadhi  (322-329=934-940)  because  their  old  friend,  the  Vizier  Ibn  Mukla, 
had  again  gained  power  in  this  period.  Instead  of  giving  the  revenues  of 
the  provinces  governed  by  them  to  the  Caliph's  treasury,  they  kept  them 
to  themselves  by  false  statements  and  bribery.  This  state  of  affairs 
could  not  go  on  for  ever  and  when  Ibn  Baik  (q.  v.)  under  the  title  of 
Amir  al-Umara  had  gained  control  of  the  Caliphate  (324=936),  the 
Caliph  advanced  with  an  army  against  Abu  'Abd  Allah,  after  all  the 
subterfuges  contrived  by  that  cunning  man  to  gain  tho  favour  of  Ibn 
Raik  had  failed.  But  Abu  'Abd  Allah  knew  what  course  to  take ;  he 
escaped  to  the  Buwayyid  'Imad  al-Dawla  in  Fars  and  persuaded  him 
without  much  trouble  to  conquer  al-Ahwaz  and  al-Irak.  When  an 
opponent  to  Ibn  Kaik  arose  in  the  Turk  Bedikem  (q.  v.)  Abu  'Abd  Allah 
took  the  side  first  of  one  then  of  the  other  according  to  circumstances, 
and  after  Bedikeni's  victory  in  326  (938)  he  was  appointed  by  him 
Vizier  of  the  Caliph.  He  was  deposed  soon  afterwards,  however,  but  as 
Bedikem  had  perished  early  in  the  reign  of  al-Muttaki  (329—941),  he 
seized  Baghdad  for  a  brief  period  but  after  a  few  weeks  was  forced  by  the 
mutinous  troops  to  return  to  Wasit.  In  the  following  year  330  (932) 
he  sent  his  brother  Abu'l-Husain  with  troops  against  Baghdad  so  that 
the  Caliph  and  Ibn  Eaik  had  to  seek  refuge  with  the  Hamdanids  of 
Mosul.  Abu'l  Husain  made  himself  so  detested  by  his  oppressions 
there  that  the  Hamdanids  had  no  difficulty  in  driving  him  from  Baghdad 
and  even  from  Wasit.  The  brothers  were  able  to  assort  themselves  in 
Basra  although  they  had  to  wage  a  costly  war  with  the  lord  of  'Oman, 
who  had  come  against  Basra  with  a  fleet  and  had  already  taken  Obolla 
331  (942).  Fortunately  for  them  the  fleet  was  set  on  fire  and  the  enemy 
Was  forced  to  retire  to  'Oman.  These  and  other  wars  consumed  Abu 
'Abd  Allah's  wealth  and  although  he  did  not  hesitate  to  have  his  brother 
Abu  Yusuf  murdered  to  gain  his  accumulated  treasures,  they  availed 
him  little,  for  he  himself  died  the  same  year  332  (944).  The  third 
brother  Abu'l-Husain  soon  came  into  conflict  with  his  own  followers 
who  recognised  Abu'l-Kasim,  the  son  of  Abu  'Abd  Allah  as  their  master, 
and  escaped  with  great  difficulty  to  the  Karmatian  prince  of  al- Bahrain. 
With  the  latter1  s  help  he  laid  siege  to  his  nephew  in  Basra,  till  he  came 
to  terms  with  him.  Soon  afterwards  he  again  began  intriguing  and  went 
to  Baghdad  to  try  to  obtain  the  governorship  of  Basra  and  so,  far  from 
being  successful,  he  Was  executed  there  in  333  (945)  after  a  trial.  His 
nephew  Abu'l-Kasim  in  the  following  year  made  peace  with  the 
Buyid  Muizz  al-Dawla,  though  only  for  a  brief  period,  for  in  335  the 
latter  sent  troops  against  him'  and  in  336  (947)  advanced  in  person 
against  Basra  and  forced  him  to  flee  to  the  Karmatians  of  al-Bahrain. 
He  then  ceased  to  play  any  active  part  in  politics  though  he  was  ulti- 
mately pardoned  by  Muizz  al-Dawla  and  did  not  die  till  349  (960)' ' 
Ency.  of  Islam. 


18  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Christians  and  Jews,  levied  an  enormous  additional  tax 
on  wheat,  took  away  a  portion  of  their  wares  from  the 
merchants,  and  exacted  compulsory  loans  from  the  popu- 
lace1. Before  Muizz-ad-Dawlah,  the  last  Baridi  fled  to  the 
Karmatheans  in  South  Arabia.  But  he  was  subsequently 
reconciled  to  the  new  order  of  things,  returned  to  Baghdad, 
and  was  even  included  among  the  table  companions 
(Nudama)  of  Muizz-ad-Dawlah2. 

Compared  to  these  robber  piinces,  the  soldiers  hail- 
ing from  northern  countries  who  established  their  throne 
within  the  confines  of  the  Empire  were  veritable  fathers 
to  the  people.  The  Samanids  pretended  to  be  Persians 
and  traced  their  descent  from  the  Sassanids.  At  the 
end  of  the  3rd/0th  century  they  reached  their  highest 
splendour:  Transoxiana,  Media,  and  the  whole  of  Iran 
up  to  Kirman  were  under  their  rule.  But  within  their 
own  kingdom  there  flourished  almost  independent  States  ; 
for  instance,  Sigistan  (Afghanistan)  still  belonging  to  the 
Saffarids,  prayed,  true  enough,  for  the  ruler  of  Bukhara, 
but  merely  paid  him  a  tribute.  The  vastness  of  their 
Empire  necessitated  the  establishment  of  a  kind  of  vice- 
royalty.  They  themselves  resided  in  Bukhara,  but  their 
Commander-in-Chief  (Sahib-al-Jaish)h&(l  his  seat  at  Nisha- 
pur,  which  under  the  Tahirids  had  become  the  capital  of 
Khorasan3.  Mukaddasi — possibly  for  personal  reasons-  - 
cannot  sufficiently  extol  their  mode  of  life,  their  attitude 
towards  learning  and  learned  men.  They  excused  them 
from  kissing  the  ground  before  them.  Even  if  a  tree  was 
to  rise  against  them,  says  Mukaddasi,  it  would  instantly 
wither  away4.  Even  when  the  powerful  Adad-ud-Dawlah, 
who  conquered  everybody  else,  marched  against  the 
Sarnanids,  God  destroyed  his  army  and  made  over  his 
State  to  his  enemies5.  The  Dailamites,  to  be  sure,  did 
take  the  whole  of  Iran  from  the  Samanids  but  after  a 
hard  fight.  Almost  every  year  Subuktagin,  the  general  of 
Muizz-ud-Dawlah  in  Baghdad,  had  to  hasten  to  Kai  with 
help  to  the  brother  of  his  master  conducting  operations 
against  the  Samanids  there. 


(1)  Misk,  ^VI,  158;  Kit.aJ-Uyun.  192a.  (2)  Ktt-al-Uyun.  IV,  247. 
On  the  word  'Nudama,'  see  Burton,  Arabian  Nights,  Vol.  L.  p.  46. 
11  Nadim"  denotes  one  who  was  intimate  with  the  Caliph,  a  very  high 
honour  and  a  dangerous  one.  The  last  who  sat  with  '  Nudma  *  was 
Al-Eadhi  bi'llah  A.H.  329/940.  SeeSuyuti,  History  of  the  Caliph*,  Eng. 
fcr.  Tr.  (3)  Vambery,  Bokhara,  Chapters  IV  and  V.  Tr.  (4)  For  Muka- 
ddasi, see  Khuda  Bukhsh,  Studies:  Indian  and  Islamic,  159-162 
(5)  Misk,  VI,  377. 


THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM  19 

Twenty  years  after  Mukaddasi  had  lavished  his  praises, 
the  kingdom  of  the  Samanids  was  crushed  between  the 
Turks  of  the  North  and  the  South  and  the  last  of  the  House 
was  killed  in  flight.  To  the  Caliphs  of  Baghdad  the  Sama- 
nids always  remained  unswervingly  loyal  and  never 
failed  to*  send  in  presents.  In  the  year  301/913  Ahmed 
Ibn  Ismail  even  applied  to  the  Caliph  for  the  post  of 
Sahib-al-Shurtah  (Prefect  of  Police)  which  had  fallen 
vacant  by  the  death  of  the  last  of  the  Tahirids.  Like 
a  Governor  to  his  Sovereign  the  Samanid  Nasr  sent  the 
head  of  a  slain  rebel  to  the  Caliph1. 

The  future,  indeed,  belonged  to  the  people  of  the 
mountain  ranges  of  Northern  Persia — hitherto  in  the 
background.  Of  all  their  generals  who  ruled  West  Iran, 
after  the  death  of  Yusuf  ibn  Abissagh  the  Dailamite 
Merdawigh  is  the  most  attractive  personality  to  the 
chroniclers.  Islam  sat  lightly  upon  him.  Like  an  un- 
believer, he  took  the  sons  and  daughters  of  the  empire 
into  slavery — 50,000  to  100,000  women  and  children. 
Like  unbelievers  the  inhabitants  of  Hamadan  were  put  to 
the  sword2,  and  so  the  Iranians  in  the  year  320/932  created 
a  scene  before  the  Caliph's  palace  in  Bagdad.  They 
questioned  the  authority  of  the  Government  to  tax  when 
it  was  not  in  a  position  to  stand  by  the  faithful  with 
help  and  protection.  A  band  of  pious  men  met  one 
of  Merdawigh's  generals  before  Dinawar.  Their  leader 
carried  an  open  Qur'an  in  his  hand  and  implored  them 
to  fear  God  and  to  spare  the  faithful  who  had  committed 
no  crime.  But  he  is  reported  to  have  struck  him  in 
the  face  with  the  Holy  Book  and  then  run  his  sword 
through  him3. 

Merdawigh  was  an  optimist  with  large  schemes.  He 
aspired  to  restore  the  Persian  Empire  and  to  destroy  that 
of  the  Arabs4.  He  wore  a  diadem  set  with  precious 
stones,  according  to  the  old  Persian  style,  sat  on  a  golden 
dais,  in  the  midst  of  which  stood  the  throne.  In  front 
was  a  silver  dais  covered  with  carpets  and  in  front  of  that 
again  were  placed  gilded  chairs  for  the  magnates  of  the 
realm.  He  meditated  the  conquest  of  Baghdad;  he 
thought  of  rebuilding  the  palace  of  Chosroe  at  Ctesiphon 


(1)     KiLal-Uyun,   IV,  190b.  (2)  Masudi,  IV,  23  et  sqq. 

(3)    Masudi,  IX,   24.  (4)     Al-Suli,     Auraq  (Paris)  81, 


20  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

and  of  ruling  the  world  therefrom1.    His  soldiers  feared 
his  pride.     He  found  the    magnificently  planned  winter 
celebration  in  Ispahan   mean  and  paltry,  because    to  the 
eye,   (intent   upon  the   wide,   wide  world),  everything  ap- 
peared small   and  insignificant.     With  difficulty  the  Wazir 
succeeded  in  inducing  him  to  show  himself  to  the  *  people. 
On  this  day  of  festivity  all  saw  discontent  legibly  inscribed 
on  his  face.    In  his  mantle  he   wrapped  himself  and  lay 
down  in  the  tent  with  his  back  against  the  entrance  without 
uttering  a  word2.     Along   with  50,000  Dailamites   he   had 
4,000  Turkish   slaves3   whom  he   unwisely   preferred  to  his 
own  people   who,  for  that  reason,   hated   him   with  intense 
hatred4.     Despite   his   preference   for  the   Turkish  guards, 
one  day  he  forced  them,  when  they  had  awakened  him  from 
his  sleep  by  the  noise  in  saddling  their  horses,  to  lead  their 
horses  by   the  rein   and   carry  the   saddles   and  trappings 
on   their  backs.     By  way  of  revenge  for  this  sort  of  treat- 
ment  they   surprised  him   in  his   bath   and  killed  him5. 
His  brother    Wasmigir  and   his  nephew  Kawus,  however, 
managed   to  retain  a   small  principality   high   up   in   the 
north  of  Iran.      His   heritage   devolved   upon   the   leaders 
of    the    mercenaries    from    the    Persian    mountains — the 
Buwayyids. 

The  Buwayyids  were  so  strange  to  Arab  culture  that 
Muizz-ud-Dawlah,  as  the  ruler  of  Baghdad,  needed  an  in- 
terpreter for  an  Arab  audience8.  By  cunning  and  sol- 
dierly qualities  they  rose.  Without  compmiction  they 
passed  from  one  commander  to  another  who  paid  them 
better.  When  Makan  was  beaten  they  begged  for  leave 
and  said :  they  did  not  wish  to  lay  upon  him  the  heavy 
burden  of  their  salaries  and  upkeep.  If  things  went  better, 
they  would  return7. 

One  of  their  great  qualities  was  to  know  how  to  make, 
and  always  to  have,  a  reserve  of  money.  Tradition  tells 
us  that  to  the  founder  of  the  dynasty,  in  a  moment  of  great 
need,  a  serpent  showed  a  hole  in  which  a  treasure  lay  buri- 
ed8. By  bribing  the  Wazir  of  Merdawigh  they  were  able 
to  plunder  the  rich  sectarians  (Khurramites)  residing  in 

(1)  Masudi,  IX,  27  ;   Misk,  V,  489. 

(2)  Misk,  V,  480. 

(3)  Masudi,  IX,  26. 

(4)  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  81. 

(5)  Misk,  V,  482. 

(6)  Misk,  V,  435. 

(7)  Misk,  V,  435. 

(8)  Misk,  V,  464. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  21 

their  castles  on  the  highlands  of  Kerag.  With  this  money 
they  tempted  and  won  over  a  large  number  of  their  own 
countrymen  serving  in  other  armies.  Thus  to  conquer  the 
Caliph's  troops  and  to  occupy  Southern  Iran  was  an  easy 
matter  to  them.  Moreover  they  treated  the  prisoners 
with  kindness  and  clemency  and  straightway  took  them 
into  their  service1.  Rukn-ud-Dawlah,  the  ruler  of  Eai, 
for  fear  that  he  might  have  to  spend  a  single  dirham 
from  his  ffreasury,  neglected  the  administration  of  the 
country  and  was  prefect ly  content  with  the  revenues  he 
received — whatever  they  were2.  Adad-ud-Dawlah  ac- 
quired an  immense  fortune.  Even  in  later  times,  which 
were  by  no  means  very  prosperous,  Fakhr-ud-Dawlah 
(d.  387/997),  according  to  the  testimony  of  his  con- 
temporary Ibn  al-Sabi,  left  behind  2,875,284  dinars, 
100,860,790  dirhams  and  treasures  of  all  kinds  which 
were  carefully  noted  down.  He  was  a  miser.  The 
keys  of  his  store-rooms  were  kept  in  an  iron  purse,  from 
which  he  never  parted3.  Even  Baha-ud-Dawlah  (d. 
403/1012)  was  niggardly  with  every  dirham  and  gathered 
together  treasures  such  as  none  of  his  House  had  done 
before4* 

Another  feature  of  this  family  was  its  strong  solidarity 
and  strict  discipline,  at  all  events  in  the  first  generation. 
This  must  be  credited  to  the  personality  of  Ali,  who  later 
received  the  title  of  Imad-ud-Dawlah.  To  him,  indeed, 
this  House  owes  its  splendour.  When  the  third  brother, 
Muizz-ud-Dawlah,  already  the  ruler  of  Babylon,  paid  his 
official  call  on  him,  he  kissed  the  ground  before  him,  and 
remained  standing,  though  bidden  to  sit  down5.  After  the 
death  of  the  eldest  the  supreme  authority  devolved  upon 
the  second  brother  Rukn-ud-Dawlah  in  Rai,  to  whom 
Muizz-ud-Dawlah  rendered  unhesitating  obedience6. 

Muizz-ud-Dawlah,  on  his  death-bed,  commanded  his 
son  to  obey  Rukn-ud-Dawlah  and  to  consult  him  in  all 
important  matters  and  also  to  show  respect  to  his  cousin 
Adad-ud-Dawlah,  older  in  years  than  him7.  But  when 
Adad-ud-Dawlah  wanted  to  wrench  Babylon  away  from 

(1)  Misk,  V,  444. 

(2)  Misk,  VI,  357. 

(3)  Ibn  Taghribardi,  821. 

(4)  Ibn  al-Janzi,  fol.  159b. 

(5)  Ibn  ai-Athir,  VIII,  353. 

(6)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  336. 

(7)  Misk,  VI,  298, 


22  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

his  unworthy  cousin,  Rukn-ud-Dawlah,  father  of  Adad- 
ud-Dawlah,  rose  from  his  seat,  rolled  on  the  ground,  foamed 
at  the  month,  and  for  days  neither  ate  nor  drank.  He 
said :  I  saw  my  brother  Muizz  stand  before  me,  biting  his 
finger  for  my  sake,  saying :  0  brother,  you  had  assured 
me  of  the  safety  of  my  wife  and  children. 

At  the  order  of  the  indignant  father,  Adad-ud-Dawlah 
marched  out  of  Baghdad  where  he  had  built  a  palace  for 
himself1. 

Imad-ud-Dawlah's  was  not  a  royal  figure.  He  was 
rather  a  good  business  man,  endowed  with  the  shrewdness 
of  a  peasant.  He  had  arranged  with  the  Caliph  for  the 
grant  of  Persia  in  fief  as  against  the  payment  of  a  million 
dirhains.  The  Wazir  had  expressly  warned  his  ambassa- 
dor not  to  part  with  the  banners  and  robes  of  honour — 
the  insignia  of  investiture — without  payment.  But  Imad- 
ud-Dawlah  forcibly  took  these  away  and,  of  course,  paid 
nothing2. 

Rukn-nd-Dawlah's  fidelity,  clemency  and  justice  are 
praised3.  To  the  Marzuban  who  fled  to  him  with  '  his 
horse  and  his  whip '  he  made  many  beautiful  presents — 
the  like  of  which  Miskawaihi  had  never  seen.  The  his- 
torian was  then  the  librarian  of  the  Wazir  in  Eai  and  has- 
tened with  many  others  to  the  palace  to  see  the  procession 
with  the  presents4. 

Rukn-ud-Dawlah's  Wazir  suggested  to  his  master  to 
take  over  the  country  of  the  fugitive  as  he  was  not  strong 
enough  to  administer  it  effectively.  But  Rukn-ud-Dawlah 
peremptorily  rejected  this  proposal  as  unworthy  of  him. 
Miskawaihi,  who  must  have  known  him  well  through  his 
master,  calls  him  a  '  high-minded  man5'  but  complains 
that  he  made  the  life  of  his  Wazir,  Ibn  al-Amid,  a  burden 
unto  him.  Although  behaving  better  than  other  Dail- 
amites — Miskawaihi  says — he  acted  like  soldiers  after  vic- 
tory. He  took  what  he  could  and  never  thought  of  the 
morrow.  He  showed  great  weakness  in  dealing  with  his 
soldiery,  who  worried  the  people  so  much  that  some  rode 
away  to  the  desert  to  confer  as  to  how  they  should  satisfy 
them. 

Moreover,  he  thought  that  his  rule  must  stand  or  fall 
with  the  Kurds  and,  acting  on  that  belief,  he  never  in- 

(1)  Misk,  VI,  444. 

(2)  Kit.  al-Uyun,  IV,  146a.    (3)    Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  493. 

(4)  Amedroz,  Islam  III,  335 ;  Misk,  VI,  280  ff.  [Eng.  tr.  vol  V,  232]. 

(5)  Amedroz,  Islam  III,  336 ;  Misk,  VI,  293, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  23 

terfered  with  these  robbers.  When  it  was  reported  to 
him  that  a  caravan  had  been  looted  and  the  cattle  driven 
away,  he  merely  rejoined  :  People  must  live1. 

Muizz-ud-Dawlah,  Prince  of  Babylon,  was  curt  in  his 
behaviour  and  was  readily  moved  to  anger.  He  insulted 
his  Wazirs  and  court  officials2.  He  even  buffeted  his 
Wazir,  al-Muhallabi.  But  in  his  illness  he  softened'5.  At 
every  attack — he  suffered  from  stone  in  the  bladder — 
when  he  felt  that  he  was  dying,  he  had  the  lamentation  for 
the  dead  done  for  himself  in  conformity  with  the  custom 
of  the  Dailamite  mountaineers.  He  was  always  ready  to 
shed  tears.  Weeping,  he  begged  his  Turks,  in  a  battle 
which  was  already  almost  lost,  to  make  one  whole-hearted, 
desperate  effort  under  his  leadership4. 

He  treated  the  Caliph,  who  was  in  his  power,  with 
soldierly  arrogance.  He  confiscated  the  property  of  his 
Wazir,  al-Muhallabi,  after  his  death,  although  he  had  served 
him  for  thirteen  long  years  ;  and  extorted  money  from  his 
servants  even  down  to  his  boatmen.  His  behaviour  dis- 
gusted all,  without  exception5.  On  his  new  palace  in  the 
north  of  Baghdad,  he  spent  13  million  dirhams  which  he 
mercilessly  extorted  from  his  supporters6. 

He  never  bestowed  a  thought  on  the  rights  of  the 
people.  He  placed  his  army  in  civic  quarters  at  Baghdad, 
a  heavy  burden  to  the  citizens.  He  gave  cultivable  lands 
in  fief  to  his  soldiers.  Under  him  the  inspecting  officers 
lost  all  influence;  public  works  were  no  longer  undertaken; 
the  soldiers  took  up  lands  on  trial,  sucked  them  dry,  and 
then  exchanged  them  for  fresh  ones.  But  he  encouraged 
the  mending  of  dams  and  personally  carried  soil  for 
the  purpose.  The  entire  army  followed  his  example.  Thus 
he  made  the  districts  of  Nahrwan  and  Badaraya  once 
more  fertile,  and  the  people  of  Baghdad  loved  him  for 
that7.  His  son  Bakhtyar  was  endowed  with  immense  phy- 
sical strength.  He  once  held  a  powerful  ox  by  the  horns 
so  that  it  could  not  move8.  In  all  other  repects  he  was 
a  thorough  failure.  He  niether  kept  his  promise  nor  his 

(1)  Misk,  VI,  354  et  sqq. 

(2)  Misk,  VI,  194. 

(3)  Misk,  V,  210, 

(4)  Misk,  VI,  217. 

(5)  Ibn  a-Athir,  VIII,  405. 

(6)  Misk,  VI,  293.     Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  398.  According  to  Ibn  a1- 

Jauzai  1,000  million  dinars. 

(7)  Misk,    VI,    219.    See    Guy   Le   Strange,    Lands    of  Eastern 

Caliphate,  p.  80  Tr. 
8)     Ibn  Taghribardi,  19. 


24  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

threats;  talked  but  did  nothing1.  He  spent  his  time  in 
hunting,  eating,  drinking,  music,  joking,  cock-fights,  and 
with  dogs  and  loose  women.  When  he  had  no  money  to 
go  on  with  he  deposed  the  Wazir,  took  away  his  money, 
and  appointed  another  in  his  place2.  According  to  a 
more  lenient  view,  he  was  interested  in  valuable  books ; 
in  slave-girls,  traind  in  various  arts  ;  and  in  fine  Arab 
horses  which  he  loved  to  exercise  in  the  desert*.  When 
his  Turkish  boy  favourite  was  taken  prisoner  he  neither 
ate  nor  drank,  he  sighed  and  fretted ;  and  whenever  the 
Wazir  or  a  general  came  to  him  with  important  affairs  he 
never  ceased  to  ventilate  his  grief,  with  the  result  that  he 
suffered  in  dignity  and  public  esteem4. 

Adad-ud-Dawlah  was  the  only  real  royal  personality  of 
this  House.  His  rule,  in  the  end,  extended  from  the 
Caspian  Sea  to  Kirman  and  Oman,  Not  in  vain  did  he 
again,  for  the  first  time  in  Islam,  bear  the  old  title  of 
Shahan-Shahj  reckoned  before  as  blasphemous5.  The 
title  continued  in  his  House,  as  the  revival  of  an  old  Orient- 
al practice.  He  carried  the  stamp  of  his  northern  lineage. 
He  had  blue  eyes,  reddish  hair6.  The  Wazir  called  him 
Ibn  Abu  Bakr,  the  manure  dealer,  because  he  resembled 
a  man  of  that  name  who  sold  manure  to  the  gardeners  of 
Baghdad7.  He  was  cruel  in  his  dealings.  He  caused 
the  Wazir  Ibn  Baqiyyah  who  had  worked  against  him  and 
who  had  been  delivered  to  him,  already  blinded,  to  be 
trampled  to  death  by  elephants — the  first  instance  of  this 
punishment  in  Islamic  history8.  Another  Wazir,  who 
felt  himself  unable  to  carry  out  an  order  given  to  him, 
committed  suicide  for  fear  of  his  displeasure9.  But  he 
was  equally  severe  upon  himself.  When  once  a  girl  so 
thoroughly  captured  his  heart  that  she  took  him  away 
from  his  work,  he  had  her  instantly  removed  (Ibn  al- 
Jauzi,  fol.  1208,^ ^  

(1)  Misk,  VI,  386.  (2)  Misk,  VI,  389,  (3)  Misk,  V,  419.  (4)  Misk, 
VI,  469.  (5)  Wuz,  388;  Yaq.  IrsJiad,  II,  120.  (6)  Yaq.  Irshad,  V,  349. 
(7)  Ibn  Khali.  Nr.  709  from  the  Uyun-al-Seyar  of  Hamadani.  (8)  Misk, 
VI,  481.  [Bng.  tr.  Vol.  V  p.  304].  (9)  Misk,  VI,  514  But  much  has  been 
unjustly  imputed  to  him.  Thus  Ibn  Taghribardi  relates  (pp.  159  et  sqq). 
that  he  sued  for  the  hand  of  the  Hamadanid  princess,  Jainilah,  but  was 
refused.  This  angered  and  enraged  him.  He  took  everything  away  from 
her  and  reduced  her  to  absolute  poverty.  According  to  another  legend  he 
compelled  her  to  live  in  the  prostitutes'  quarter  and  on  that  account  she 
drowned  herself  in  the  Tigris.  As  a  matter  of  fact  the  girl,  true  to  her 
brother,  a  mortal  enemy  of  Adad-ud-Dawlah,  fled  with  him.  After  his 
death  she  was  delivered  to  Adad-ud-Dawlah  who  put  her,  along  with  her 
slavegirls  and  women  companions,  into  his  harein :  Misk,  VI,  507. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  25 

Like  everyone  anxious  effectively  to  govern   an    ex- 
tensive  Empire  he  provided  for  quick  news-service.     The 
courier  who   came  late  was   punished.     Thus  he  arranged 
to  get  the  post  from   Shiraz  to   Baghdad   in   seven  days ; 
that  is  a  daily  ride  of  more  than  150  kilometres.     He  also 
developed  and   improved   the   espionage  system.     c  Every 
word   that   fell  in   Egypt   came  to  his  ears,  and  the  people 
were  on   their  guard   even  before   their  wives  and  slaves.' 
He   swept   the   streets   of   Baghdad   clear  of  thieves.    An 
instance  is   mentioned    by    Ibn    al-Jauzi  (Kit.  -al-Adkiya, 
p.   38,   according  to  the   Tarikli  of   Hamadani)   where    he 
poisoned  them  like  rats.     He  restored  order  in  the  Arabian 
and   even  in  the  more  notorious   Kiruianian  desert,   with 
the  result  that   pilgrims  had   no  more   exactions  to  submit 
to   or    inconveniences   to   put   up    with.     On  the  pilgrim- 
routes  he  dug  wells  and   constructed  cisterns  and  protected 
Medina  by  a  wall.     He  renovated  the  half-ruined    capital, 
Baghdad;      built   mosques  and   laid  out   bazars;   repaired 
the   bridges  over  the   great   canals,    which  had    become  so 
damaged   that   women,   children  and   animals  fell  into  the 
water  while   using   them  ;  made   the   bridge  on  the  Tigris, 
which   could  only  be  used  with  risk  to  life,  broad,  spacious 
and  safe,  protected  it   with  railings,  appointed  guards  and 
supervisors;   restored   the  famous   garden  which   had    be- 
come the  '  haunt  of  dogs   and   depository  of  corpses.1     He 
made   the   wealthy  classes    repair  the    dilapidated    weirp. 
He   redug   the   canals  which  had  become  choked  with  mud, 
and  built   mills  on  their  banks  :  he   patched  up  the  holes  in 
the  dams  and   planted  a   colony  from  Fars  and  Kir  man  on 
the   waste   lands1.     But,   all  this   notwithstanding — Baby- 
lonia  was   merely  an   appendage.     The   centre   of  his  rule 
was  always   Persia.     There   the   chief  Qadhi  resided.     At 
Baghdad    he    only    had  four  deputies  to  represent   him2. 
Indeed    Adad-ud-Dawlah   is  said  to  have    whole-heartedly 
despised  Baghdad.     He  is   reported   to  have  said  :   In  this 
town  only  two,    worthy  of    being  called    men,   I    found ; 
but  when  I  closely   examined   them  I  discovered  that  they 
were   Kufans  and  not  Baghdadis  at   all3.     He  established 
a  richly  endowed  bazar  for   seed-sellers  and  made  arrange- 
ments for  the    cultivation  of  foreign   fruits.     Thus  he  in- 
troduced   indigo    plantation   in   Kirman4.     At    Shiraz   he 
built  a   magnificent   palace  with  360  rooms5.     At  Baghdad 


(1)  Misk,  VI,  509  ff.  On  the  Province  of  Fars,  see  Guy  Le  Strange, 

Lands  of  the  Eastern  Caliphate,  p.  248. 

(2)  Misk,  VI,  502.     (3)     Supplement  to  Kindi.  (Ed.  Guest)  p.  574. 
(4)    Misk,  VI,  509;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  119b.  (5)    Muq.  449. 


26  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

he  enlarged  the  immense  palace  of  the  late  Field-Marshal 
Subuktagin  by  purchasing  the  houses  round  about,  and 
built  a  high  masonry  aqueduct  to  conduct,  through 
desert  and  suburbs,  water  to  his  park.  He  used  elephants 
for  pulling  down  houses  and  consolidating  the  soil.  He  was 
the  first  to  use  elephants  in  the  Muslim  army1.  Death 
prevented  the  execution  of  his  further  and  yet  more  ex- 
tensive building  schemes2.  He  was  up  before  dawn,  had 
a  warm  bath,  said  his  morning  prayer,  and  this  done,  he 
conversed  with  his  intimate  friends.  Then  he  transacted 
the  business  of  the  day  and  breakfasted — his  physician 
being  always  present.  After  breakfast  he  slept  till 
midday.  The  afternoon  he  dedicated  to  his  friends,  to 
recreation  and  to  music3.  He  had  very  able  teachers4. 
He  loved  learning;  gave  stipends  to  theologians,  jurists, 
philologists,  physicians,  mathematicians,  and  mechanics5! 
Of  his  library  we  shall  speak  later.  As  a  rule  he  studied 
a  great  deal  and  used  to  say :  When  I  have  mastered 
Euclid  I  shall  give  20,000  dirhams  in  charity;  when  we 
have  done  with  the  book  of  the  grammarian  Abu  Ali  I 
shall  give  50,000  dirhams  in  charity.  He  loved  poetry, 
paid  the  poets,  and  preferred  the  company  of  the  literati  to 
that  of  his  generals6.  He  was  well-versed  in  lyrical  poetry7. 
Tha'labi  even  cites  Arabic  verses  which  are  said  to  be  his, 
but  they  are  nothing  more  than  mere  empty  rhymes. 
Notwithstanding  all  this,  his  treatment  of  Sabi  was  un- 
gracious— Sabi  was  then  master  of  Arabic  prose.  To  the 
philosophers  he  assigned  a  large  room  in  his  palace,  next 
to  his  own  suite,  where  they  could  discuss  matters  undis- 
turbed. Even  to  the  preachers  and  to  the  muezzins 
(those  that  call  to  prayers)  he  assigned  salaries.  He  made 
provision  for  the  poor  and  the  foreigners  who  lived  in 
mosques,  and  established  an  immense  hospital  at  Baghdad. 
On  the  birth  of  every  son  he  gave  away  10,000  dirhams 
as  alms  and,  when  by  a  favourite  wife,  50,COO;  for  every 
daughter  5,000  dirhams.  Even  of  the  welfare  of  his  non- 
Muslim  subjects  he  was  not  oblivious.  He  allowed  his 
Wazir,  Nasr  ibn  Harun,  a  Christian,  to  build  anew  a  church 
and  cloisters  which  had  been  destroyed,  and  to  give  money 

(1)  Misk,  VI,  464. 

(2)  Al-Khatib  al-Baghdadi,  Tarikh  Baghdad,  Ed.     Salmon,  p.  56 

et.  sqq. 

(3)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  120. 

(4)  Kifte,  226. 

(6)     Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  120a  ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  518. 

(6)  Tfatimah  II,  2 ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  120a. 

(7)  Irskad,  V,  286  Ibn  al-Jauzi,   Kit.al-Adkiya,  88. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  27 

to  needy  and  indigent  Christians1. 

A  father  to  his  poeple,  however,  he  never  was.  Ho 
remained  a  foreign  despot,  who  knew  how  to  feed  his  flock 
to  shear  it  all  the  more  effectively.  He  increased  old 
burdens,  created  fresh  ones,  and  extorted  money  in  all 
manners  and  shapes".  He  had,  in  the  end,  an  annual 
revenue  of  320  million  dirhams.  He  wished  to  make  it 
360  millions — a  million  a  day.  "  He  hoarded  dinars  and 
did  not  despise  a  single  dirhamV 

The  final  verdict  of  Miskawaihi,  who  had  personally 
served  him,  runs  thus  :  If  Adad-ud-Dawlah  had  not  had 
some  slight  faults,  which  one  does  not  care  to  mention 
when  enumerating  his  numerous  good  qualities,  he  would 
have  attained  the  pinnacle  of  earthly  achievements  and 
I  should  have  hoped  eternal  bliss  for  him  in  the  world  to 


come4 


His  talent  for  rule  shows  itself  in  the  selection  of  his 
subordinates.  Over  Media  he  appointed  the  Kurd,  Bedr 
ibn  Hasanawaihi  (d  405/1014).  Brave  and  just,  he  gave 
to  the  poor  and  widows  1,000  dirhams  in  alms  every  Friday. 
To  the  cobblers  between  Hamadan  and  Baghdad  he  made 
an  annual  payment  of  3,000  dinars,  to  provide  needy 
pilgrims  with  foot-wear.  For  shrouds  he  assigned  a 
monthly  gift  of  20,000  dirhams.  Moreover,  he  built 
bridges  and  three  thousand  new  mosques  and  inns. 
Never,  indeed,  did  he  pass  by  a  spring  without  founding  a 
village  there.  For  the  holy  town  and  the  protection  of 
pilgrim-roads,  he  paid  10,000  dinars  every  year.  He  provi- 
ded for  the  construction  of  reservoirs  and  cisterns  and  for 
the  storage  of  provisions  at  the  stations  on  the  roads  lead- 
ing to  the  holy  towns.  He  gave  money  to  tho  Alids  at 
Kufa  and  Baghdad,  to  the  Qur'an  readers,  and  to  the  indi- 
gent nobility6.  The  Amir-al-Juyush  (d.  401/1010),  too, 
came  fiom  the  school  of  Adad-ud-Dawlah.  In  the  year 
392/1002  he  was  sent  to  Baghdad  to  restore  order  there. 
He  made  the  town,  a  prey  hitherto  to  the  robbers,  so  safe 
and  secure  that  a  slave  could  be  sent  out  at  night  carrying 
a  silver  salver  with  gold  pieces  without  any  one  interfering 
with  him.6 

(1)  Misk,  VI,  511;  Ibn  al-Athiv,  VIII,  518. 

(2)  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  16. 

(3)  Ibn-al-Janzi,  fol.  120b. 

(4)  Misk,  VI,  511. 

(5)  Ibn  al-Jahiz,  fol.  161b. 

(6)  Ibival-Jauzi,  fol.  156bT 


28  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

After  Adad-ad-Dawlah  the  Buwayyids  produced  no- 
body of  any  usefulness  or  importance.  Finally,  the  last 
sources  of  revenue  gave  way,  and  Jalal-ud-Dawlah1  had 
even  to  sell  his  store  of  cloth  in  the  bazar.  He  had  no 
chamberlains,  no  servants,  no  porters.  Not  even  had  he 
any  one  to  announce  the  hours  of  prayers2. 

Bejkem  and  Ikhshid"  represented  the  Turks  in  the 
circle  of  Muslim  princes.  Both  were  capable  soldiers 
and  efficient  rulers.  But  they  made  no  outward  display. 
The  first  was  a  veritable  condottiere.  From  Makan  he 
went  over  to  Merdawigh,  and  after  the  latter's  death — 
he  is  said  to  have  had  a  hand  in  his  murder — with  a  few 
hundred  Turks  and  Persians  he  joined  Ibn  Raiq  in  Baby- 
lonia. The  former  soldiers  of  Merdawigh  continued  under 
his  command1.  It  was  not  a  large  body  of  men,  300  in 
all.  At  Ibn  Raiq's  behest  he  wrote  to  his  former  comrades 
in  Iran  and  many  responded,  and  joined  him5.  Then  he 
meddled  in  politics,  removed  the  name  of  Ibn  Raiq  from 
his  banners  and  shields,  drove  him  out  of  Baghdad, 
and  became  himself  the  Amir  of  Babylonia.  He  had  then 
700  Turks  and  500  Persians  under  his  command6.  The 
Caliph,  who  preferred  him  to  his  predecessor7,  conferred 
upon  him  the  honourable  title  of  Nadim  (Table-compan- 
ion*). But  this  Turkish w  soldier  had  no  use  for  the 
literary  friends  of  the  Caliph.  The  only  one  whom  he 
took  to  was  the  famous  physician  Sinan  ibn  Tahbit10. 
He  begged  him  to  cure  him  of  the  tendency  to  sudden 
outbursts  of  anger  and  to  point  his  faults  out  to  him. 

Bejkem  was  wonderfully  courageous.  With  290 
Turks  he  put  10,000  men  of  the  Baridi  to  flight  (Kit.  al- 
Uyuv,  IV,  154  b).  Within  sight  of  the  enemy  he  swam 
with  his  Turks  across  the  Dajla  and  attacked  the  enemy 
who  had  reckoned  upon  perfect  safety  there.  His  Persians 
came  after  him  in  boats11.  When  he  was  with  the  Caliph 

(1)  See  Lane  Poole's  Moh.     Dynasties,  pp.  139  et  sqq. 

(2)  Ih  al-Janzi,  fol.  182,  184b. 

(3)  On    the    Ikhshidids,  See   Lane  Poole,    Moh.  Dynasties,  p.  09. 

(4)  /fit.  al-Uyun,  IV,  147  a.  b. 

(5)  Misk,  V,  508. 

(6)  Kit.al-Uyun,  IV,  163b. 

(7)  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  55. 

(8)  Kit.al-Uyiin,  IV,  166b. 

(9)  On   Bedjkem,  see  the  Ency.   of  Islam -t  see  also  Weil,  Gesch.fl. 

Chalifen,  Vol.  II,  pp.  664  et.  sqq.  Tr, 

(10)  Misk,  VI,  26  et  sqq. 

(11)  Kit.al-Uyun,  IV,  164, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  29 

in  Samarra  and  there  heard  that  Ibn  Kaiq  was  proceeding 
from  Baghdad  to  Syria  he  expressed  a  desire  to  go  to  Hit 
accross  the  desert  to  seize  him.  But  the  Caliph  would  not 
permit  this,  because  Ibn  Eaiq  had  been  assured  an  undis- 
trubed  passage. 

To  Baghdad  he  brought  many  an  uncouth  practice  of 
his  earlier  military  life.  When  he  tried  to  extort  money 
from  people  by  placing  pans  full  of  glowing  charcoal  on 
their  bodies,  it  was  pointed  out  to  him  that  the  practice 
of  Merdawigh  should  not  be  introduced  at  the  residence  of 
the  Caliph. 

The  Baghdadis  disliked  him  for  his  objectionable 
ways  and  rejoiced  when  Ibn  Kaiq  suddenly  attacked  Bagh- 
dad in  his  absence1.  The  mob  and  the  street  boys  jeered 
at  him,  calling  after  him  "half  of  Bejkem's  moustache 
has  been  shaved  off."  When  they  saw  a  Turk  in  a  high 
cap  they  cried  out :  Fly  away,  our  Amir  is  not  Bejkem2. 
He  held,  however,  the  status  of  a  prince  in  consequence  of 
his  having  founded  a  colony  in  Madain. 

The  grandfather  of  Mohamed  ibn  Tughj  came  from 
Turkistan  under  the  Caliph  Mutasim  who,  for  the  first  time, 
enlisted  Turkish  soldiers  in  large  numbers.  His  father 
rose  to  be  governor  of  Damascus,  but  was  disgraced  and 
died  in  prison.  His  son  enjoyed  the  'sweet  and  bitter 
of  life.'  Ibn  Tughj,  every  now  and  then,  took  military 
service  under  some  general  or  other,  and  at  one  time  even 
served  as  falconer  to  a  nobleman.  In  the  service  of  the 
governor  of  Egypt  he  distinguished  himself  by  courage 
and  heroism.  This  served  as  a  stepping-stone  to  a  gover- 
norship and  eventually  to  the  independent  rule  of  Egypt:i. 
He  ruled  as  many  countries  as  the  most  powerful  Pharaoh : 
Egypt,  Syria,  Yaman,  Mekka,  Medina4.  No  wonder  then 

(1)  Kitab  al-Uyun,  l79a.  (2)  Bejkem  was  appointed  Amir-al- 
Umara  in  326/Sept.  938  in  place  of  Ibn  Kaiq.  He  first  directed  his 
attention  to  the  Hamadanids  who  would  not  pay  tribute.  He  proceeded 
to  Mosul  against  the  Hamadanid  Hasan.  While  he  was  away  Ibn  Baiq 
suddenly  appeared  in  Baghdad.  Bejkem  had  to  make  peace  with  Hasan 
in  327/938  and  to  return  to  the  capital.  A  peace  settlement  was  soon 
reached  with  Ibn  Raiq,  by  the  terms  of  which  the  latter  received  the 
governorship  of  Harran,  Edessa,  Kinnesrin  with  the  district  on  the  upper 
Euphrates  and  the  frontier  fortresses.  In  329/941,  Bejkem  was  surprised 
and  slain  in  an  expedition  by  some  Kurds.  See  Ency.  of  Islam.  Sub. 
Bejkem.  Tr.  (3)  In  318  he  became  governor  of  Damascus  and  in  321 
Governor  of  Egypt.  He  did  not  take  over  the  office,  however,  till  935 
(323  A.H.) ;  in  938  (327)  he  assumed  the  title  of  Ikhshid,  and  in  941 
(330  A.H.)  -Syria  was  added  to  his  dominions,  and  Mekka  and  Medina  in 
the  following  year.  The  Ikhshidids  ruled  from  935-961.  Tr.  (4)  Kit. 
fll-Jfayhrib,  20, 


30  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

that  he  should  refuse  the  invitation  of  the  Caliph 
Mustakfi  to  accept  the  insecure  principality  of  Baghdad 
after  the  death  of  Ibn  Tuzuiii1. 

Ikhshid  was  corpulent  and  had  blue  eyes.  He  was  so 
strong  that  none  could  stretch  his  bow.  He  suffered  from 
attacks  which  could  not  be  precisely  diagnosed2.  Egypt 
fared  well  under  him.  He  maintained  order  and  issued 
a  full-valued  dinar3.  His  army  was  the  most  impressive 
army  of  his  age.  When  in  the  year  333/944  he  came  to  the 
Euphrates  the  inhabitants  of  Eaqqah  and  Kafiqah  were 
amazed  at  the  number,  orderliness,  and  equipment  of  his 
army.  They  had  never  seen  the  like  of  it4.  In  him  cred- 
ulity and  greed  formed  a  useful  alliance.  In  cold  blood 
he  proceeded  to  extort  money  from  all  rich  officials — 
friend  or  foe.  Most  of  them  deserved  their  fate. 

Fond  of  ambergris,  he  received  it  as  a  present  from 
all  quarters  and,  of  these  presents,  from  time  to  time,  he 
held  an  auction  sale5.  Stories  are  told  of  him  how  he  did 
not  shrink  from  making  even  small  profits.  And  yet  he 
never  took  to  rack  or  torture,  and  spared  women  from 
extortions6.  He  venerated  holy  men  (Salihun)  and  used 
to  ride  to  them  to  invoke  their  blessings.  "  Muslim  ibn 
Ubaidullah  Al-Husain  tells  me:  I  described  to  Ikhshid  a 
holy  man  in  el-Qarafah,  called  Ibn  al-Musayyab  and  lo ! 
he  rode  with  me  to  him,  begged  him  foi  his  blessings,  rode 
on  and  said  to  me  :  Come,  now  I  shall  show  you  another 
holy  man.  I  went  with  him  to  Abu  Sulaiman  Ibn  Yunus 
and  there  I  saw  a  fine  old  man  sitting  on  a  padded  mat. 
He  rose  to  meet  Ikhshid  and  asked  him  to  sit  on  the  mat. 
Thereupon  Ikhshid  said  to  him  :  0  Abu  Salil,  utter  some 
words  of*  the  Qur'an  upon  me,  for  the  wind  of  the  desert 
has  hurt  me.  Then  the  holy  man  stretched  his  hand  under 
the  mat ;  brought  out  a  piece  of  clean,  folded  cloth  ;  put  it 
over  his  head  and  uttered  words  of  the  Qur'an  on  hinr .  " 

Ikhshid  loved  to  hear  the  Qur'an  read  out  to  him 
and,  on  such  occasions,  wept8. 

Once  he  had  a  wonderful  experience.  A  man  from 
Babylonia  stood  on  the  well  of  Zemzem  in  Mekka  and  called 
out :  0  ye  people ;  I  am  a  foreigner ;  ysterday  I  saw 

(1)  Kit.al-Uywi,  227b.  (2)  Kit. al-Maghrib,  39.  (3)  Kit.al- 

Vyun,  IV,  208b.  (4)  Ibid,  IV,  212.  (5)  Kit.  al-Maghrib,  36. 

(15)  Kit.  al-Maghrib,  15,  37.  (7)  Kitab  al-Maghribt  p.  34, 

(8)    Ibid,  p.  37. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  31 

the  Prophet  of  God  who  thus  spoke  unto  me :  Go  to  Egypt, 
present  yourself  before  Mohamed  ibn  Tughj  and  tell  hi  in 
from  me  that  he  is  to  set  Mohamed  ibn  al-Maderai  free 
(the  great  Persian  financier).  The  caravan  proceeded  to 
Egypt  and  the  foreigner  with  it.  They  came  to  Fustat. 
Ikhshid  heard  of  the  matter,  sent  for  him  and  questioned 
him :  What  have  you  seen  ?  He  related  the  story. 
How  much  have  you  spent  over  your  journey  to  Egypt  ? 
100  dinars  was  the  reply.  Thereupon  Ikhshid  rejoined : 
Here  are  100  dinars  from  me.  Return  to  Mekka  and 
sleep  at  the  very  same  spot  again  and  tell  the  Prophet 
that  you  conveyed  his  message  to  Mohamed  ibn  Tughj, 
but  he  replied :  I  have  such  and  such  an  amount  to  get 
from  him — he  named  a  heavy  amount — and  if  he  pays 
it  back  to  me  I  shall  forthwith  set  him  free.  The  man 
answered  :  I  shall  not  make  jokes  with  the  Prophet.  With 
my  own  money  I  shall  retain  to  Medina  and  go  to  the 
Prophet  of  God,  and  appear  before  him,  awake  and  not  in 
sleep,  and  shall  tell  him:  0  prophet  of  God!  I  have  con- 
veyed your  message  to  Mohamed  ibn  Tughj  and  this  is 
his  reply.  After  saying  this  the  man  got  up,  but  Ikhshid 
held  him  back  and  said:  Tho  matter  has  now  ta.ken  a 
serious  turn.  We  only  intended  to  test  you.  You  shall 
not  leave  before  I  have  set  him  free1. 


He  sent  a  messenger  to  him  and  set  him  free.  In  the 
year  331/942,  a  report  came  from  Damietta  that  a  robber 
whose  hand  had  been  cut  off  as  punishment  and  who  had 
done  penance  and  had  lived  as  a  servant  of  God  in  a 
mosque,  had  got  back  his  hand.  Ikhshid  sent  for  the  man 
to  Old  Cairo  and  bade  him  relate  his  story.  I  saw  in 
dream,  he  said,  the  roof  of  the  mosque  open  and  three 
men  descend — Mohamed,  Gabriel,  and  Ali.  I  begged  the 
Prophet  to  restore  my  hand  to  me.  He  did  so,  and  I 
awoke  with  my  hand  restored.  From  Damietta  a  letter 
came  stating  that  many  trustworthy  people  testified 
to  having  seen  him  once  with  his  hand  cut  off.  Ikhshid 
gave  presents  to  the  man  of  miracle  and  was  amazed  at  the 
power  of  God.  Later  it  was  discovered  that  all  this  was 
pure  imposture  and  the  excitement  caused  by  the  story 
gradually  died  out2. 


[1]     Kitab-al-Mauhrib,  p.  35. 


IV.   CHRISTIANS  AND  JEWS. 

WHAT  distinguished  the  Muslim  Empire  from  Christian 
mediaeval    Europe  is   the  fact  that   within  the  borders  of 
the  former,  unlike   the   latter,    lived  a  large  number    of 
peoples   of  other  faiths  than  Islam.     These  were   the   pro- 
fessors  of  ' protected    religions'    who,    from   the    outset, 
hindered  and   thwarted  the   political  unity  of   the   Islamic 
Empire.     Belying   upon   agreements   and  rights  resulting 
therefrom,    churches    and     synagogues   always    remained 
as  something  foreign   to  the   State   and   never  could   form 
part  of  it.     The  Jews  and   Christians   took  good   care   to 
see  that  the  '  House  of  Islam '  continued  in  an  unfinished 
state.       The    result  was  that   the    faithful   always    felt 
themselves   as    conquerors     and   not     as     citizens.      The 
feudal   idea  never,     indeed,    perished — in  fact   it  set   up 
principles   surprisingly   modern.     The  necessity,    however, 
to  live  side  by   side  created   an   atmosphere   of   toleration, 
absolutely  unknown   to  Mediaeval   Europe.     This    tolera- 
tion found  expression  in   Islam  in   the    creation   of  the 
science     of   Comparative     Religion    and  its     enthusiastic 
cultivation.      Apart     from    conversions    to    Islam     these 
different    groups  subsisted,     sharply   divided    one    from 
another.     As  in   the  Byzantine  Empire  punishment    for 
conversion   to  Islam  was  death,  so  also  in   the  Empire  of 
the  Caliph  conversion  of  a  Muslim   to   Christianity  meant 
capital   punishment  for  him*1. 


(*)     Kit.  al-Uyiin,  fol.  200a. 

(l)  Attempts  at  reconversion  must,  of  course,  precede  this  punish- 
ment. From  early  Fatimide  times  the  following  is  reported :  It  was 
reported  to  the  Qadhi  that  an  eighty  year  old  Christian  had  accepted 
Islam,  but  was  reconverted  to  his  faith.  He  was  asked  to  return  to 
the  faith  of  Islam,  but  he  declined  to  do  so.  The  Qadhi  brought  the 
matter  to  the  notice  of  the  Caliph,  who  made  over  the  man  to  the  Chief 
of  the  police.  This  officer  sent  the  man  to  the  Qadhi,  with  instruction 
to  summon  four  assessors  to  reconvert  him.  If  he  repented — so  ran 
tho  order— he  was  to  get  100  dinars  but  if  ho  persisted  in  his  refusal  ho 


THE  HENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  33 

Mixed  marriages  were  out  of  the  question ;  for  a 
Christian  woman,  according  to  her  laws,  could  not  marry 
a  non-Christian  and  a  Christian  man,  according  to  the 
law  of  the  Church,  could  only  marry  a  non-Christian 
woman  if  she  and  her  children  became  Christians,  In 
the  case  of  a  Muslim  woman  this  was  an  absolute  impos- 
sibility. The  laws  of  the  Empire  further  guaranteed 
that  protected  religions  did  not  in  any  way  collide  with 
each  other— no  Jew  could  become  a  Christian  and  vice 
versa.  Only  conversion  to  Islam  was  allowed  (Sachau, 
Syrisclie  Rechtslucher,  *11, 75,170).  No  Christian  could 
inherit  from  a  Jew  and  vice  versa.  No  Christian  or 
Jew  could  inherit  from  a  Muslim,  and  no  Muslim  from  a 
Christian  or  a  Jew  either1. 

In  the  year  311/923  the  Caliph  issued  an  edict  to  the 
effect  that  goods  of  an  heirless  protected-subject  should 

was  to  bo  killed.  He  was  duly  asked  to  accept  Islam  but  he  refused  and 
was,  accordingly,  killed  and  his  body  was  thrown  into  the  Nile  (Supple- 
ment to  Kindi,  Ed.  Gnost,  p.  593).  In  Seruj  (Mesopotamia)  in  the 
3/9th  century  an  ail-too  zealous  Muslim,  who  wanted  to  reconvert  the 
apostates  who  had  gone  back  to  the  fold  of  the  Church,  by  all  kinds  of 
ill-treatment,  was  beaten  and  imprisoned  under  orders  of  the  Qadhi 
(Mich.  Syrun,  p.  535).  Says  Alml  'Ala  (8449/1057.  LuzumhjyaL 
Bombay  Ed.  250) :  "The  Christian  accepts  Islam  not  out  of  conviction 
but  from  greed.  He  seeks  power  or  fears  the  judge  or  else  wishes  to 
marry".  Even  high  ecclesiastics  accept  Islam.  Upon  them  the  angry 
Church  Chroniclers  cast  terrible  aspersions.  About  the  end  of  the 
2/8th  centutry  the  Nestorian  Metropolitan  of  Merv,  who  was  publicly 
convicted  of  pederasty,  accepted  Islam  and  traduced  the  Christians 
at  Court  (Barhebraous.  Chron.  Ecclcx.  III.,  171  ot  sqq). 

About  360/970  the  Bishop  of  Azerbaijan  accepted  Islam  after  being 
caught  in  the  very  act  of  fornication  with  a  Muslim  woman  (Ibid,  247) 
In  the  year  407 — 1016  a  metropolitan  of  Tikrit,  who  was  threatened  by 
his  deacons  with  removal  from  oflico  for  fornication,  accepted  Islam 
and  adopted  the  name  of  Abu  Muslim,  and  took  many  wives.  Tho 
Christian  chroniclers  report  with  satisfaction  that,  at  the  court  of  the 
Caliph,  he  was  no  longer  respected  as  before  when  ho  was  the  representa- 
tive of  his  congregation.  In  the  end  he  became  beggar  (Elias  Nisi- 
benus,  -226;  Barhebr.  Chron.  Eccles.  III.,  287  et  sqq.)  Even  in  Spain, 
in  the  3/9th  century,  a  high  church  authority — Bishop  Samuel  of  Elvira, 
who  was  deposed  for  evil  living — became  a  Muslim  (Graf  Baudissin 
Euloguis  und  Alvar,  1872,  p.  162).  In  the  3/9th  century  Abul  'Aina, 
expressed  himself  in  a  humorous  way  when  ho  was  made  to  wait  in 
the  ante-chamber  of  the  Wazir,  a  convert  to  Islam,  because  he  was  at 
prayer :  ' every  thing  new  has  its  special  charm.' 

*Any  attempt  by  a  Muslim  forcibly  or  by  unfair  pressure  to  convert 
a  Christian  subject  who  paid  the  tribute  was  also  punishable  with 
death.  The  law  existed  in  the  Turkish  Empire  in  our  day.  'Ed.  I.  C.' 

(l)  In  the  Letters  patent  to  a  Qadhi  this  point  is  specially  emphasis- 
ed. Paris.  Arab  MSS.  5907  fol.  126. 


34  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

devolve  upon  the  members    of    his  community  ;    while 
those  of  a  Muslim  should  go  to  the  treasury1. 

In  the  second  half  of  the  fourth  century    an  edict,  in 
favour  of  the  Sabians,  emphasizes   that   Muslim   authori- 
ties  should   not   interfere  \vith   the  laws  of  inheritance  of 
the  Sabians,  remembering  the  words  of  the   Prophet :   'One 
.  does  not  inherit  between  different  religions".' 

Along  with  the  Jews  and  Christians  the  Zarathustrians 
ioo  were  recognised  in  the  4/10th  century  as  protected 
subjects'3.  Like  the  former  they,  too  had  a  chief  who 
represented  them  at  court  and  with  the  Government. 

And  yet  there  was  a  difference  between  the  three. 

Through  all  the  dangers  and  difficulties,  attendant 
upon  the  growth  of  the  loose  confederation  that  arose 
out  of  the  Empire,  the  Jews  had  managed  to  maintain 
their  political  status  unimpaired.  The  Zarathustrians  were 
but  a  remnant  of  a  people,  never  fully  conquered  in  their 
inaccessible  homes.  The  condition  of  the  Christians, 
living  in  the  once  Sassanid  Empire,  where  they  had 
already  acquired  the  status  of  protected  subjects,  was 
less  favourable  than  either  that  of  the  Jews1  or  even  of 
the  Christians  who  had  been  inhabitants  of  the  provinces 
forming  part  of  the  quondam  Byzantine  Empire.  "Thus 
the  chiefs  of  the  Zarathustrians  and  Jews  enjoyed  here- 
ditary dignity  and  were  called  kings.  They  paid  their 
taxes  to  their  respective  chiefs.  Such  never  was  the  case 
with  the  Christians5."  The  chiefs  of  the  Magians  and 
Jews  are  temporal  sovereigns,  says  the  Jacobite  patriarch 
at  an  audience  with  the  Caliph,  but  he,  on  the  contrary, 
is  a  spiritual  chief  and  can  only  inflict  ecclesiastical 
punishments,  such  as  removal  of  bishops  and  priests  from 
their  ranks  and  excommunication  of  laymen  from  the 
Church6.  By  the  transfer  of  the  centre  of  government  to 
the  East  the  Nestorian  catholicos,  chief  of  the  Eastern 
Christians,  became  the  head  of  the  Christians  in  the 
Muslim  Empire.  He  was  chosen  by  his  Church,  but  his 
appointment  was  confirmed  by  the  Caliph  and,  like 
other  high  officials,  he  received  his  letter  of  appointment 

(1)  Wuz.  248. 

(2)  Rasa'il  of  Sabi,  Leyden,  foL  211a. 

(3)  See  the  note  at  the  end  of  this  Chapter. 

<t     (4)     Noldeke,  Tabari  Ubersetzung,  68,  note.  (5)  Michael  Syrus,  519. 

At  Mosul  the  people  pay  a  gold  piece  annually.  Of  the  amount  realis- 
ed from  the  Jews  half  wont  to  their  chief  and  half  to  the  government" 
(E.  Petacbja,  275).  (6)  Dinoys  of  Tellmachro,  148.  Barhebreaus,  1372. 


THE  EENAIS8ANGE  OF  ISLAM  35 

from  him.  One  such  letter,  dated  533/1139  runs  thus1  : 
"A  lawful  assembly  of  the  Christians  has  selected  you 
to  shepherd  their  affairs  ;  to  administer  their  trust  pro- 
perties ;  to  adjust  differences  between  the  strong  and  the 
weak  among  them.  According  to  an  old,  well-established 
practice  they  have  submitted  their  nomination  and,  as 
Imam,  I  give  permission  to  you  to  act  as  the  Catholicos 
of  the  Nestorians  in  the  'Town  of  Peace'  and  in  the  rest 
of  the  Muslim  countries,  and  also  to  be  an  '  authority  ' 
over  the  Greeks  and  the  Jacobites  and  the  Melkites 
throughout  the  empire,  with  full  power  to  wear  the  robe 
of  the  Catholicos  in  your  divine  service  and  in  other  re- 
ligious gatherings.  I  further  direct  that  no  metropolitan, 
bishop  or  deacon  is  to  share  with  you  the  honour  of  wear- 
ing robes  or  carrying  the  insignia  of  office2.  Should  any 
one  act  contrary  to  your  decision  he  will  be  forthwith 
punished.  The  Caliph  commands  that  you  should  be 
treated  as  your  predecessors  have  been  treated  in  the 
past.  He  further  commands  that  you  and  your  community 
be  protected  in  life  and  property ;  that  everything  is 
to  be  kept  in  good  condition  and  that  your  burial  cere- 
mony is  to  continue  as  before.  The  capitation-tax  is  to 
be  levied  only  once  a  year,  and  then  only  upon  those  of 
sound  mind  and  sufficient  means,  and  women  and  children 
are  to  be  excluded  from  the  operation  of  this  rule.  Final- 
ly, the  existing  laws  are  in  no  way  to  be  tampered  or 
interfered  with.  You  shall  mediate  between  the  Christian 
sects  in  their  disputes  and  help  the  weak  in  his  rights 
against  the  strong." 

The  patriarch  of  the  Jacobites  also  had  to  get  a  letter 
of  appointment  from  the  reigning  Caliph  and,  on  that 
account,  had  to  go  to  Court  on  the  occasion  of  every 
fresh  accession3.  But  about  302/912  he  was  forbidden 
by  the  Caliph  to  take  up  his  residence  at  Baghdad4. 

Christians  who  were  Nubian  subjects  had  a  privileged 
position  in  the  Empire.  They  paid  taxes  to  their  own 
king,  who  kept  special  tax-collectors  in  Muslim  territory. 
When  one  of  them  became  a  Muslim,  the  son  of  the 
Nubian  king,  who  happened  to  be  at  Baghdad  on  a  visit, 
had  him  forthwith  put  in  chains5. 

(1)  Prom  the  Tazkirah  of  Ibn  Hamdun  (Amedroz,  J.  B.  A.  8., 
1908,   487   et.   sqq.) 

(2)  The  insignia  of  the  Catholicos  were  a  crozier  and  a  high  cap 
biirtullah,  Jahiz,  Bayn,  II  76 ;  Baihaqi,    ed.  Schwally,  566. 

(3)  Michael  Syrus  519.    (4)  Barhebraeus,  1,275,    Observation  I. 
(5)  Mich.  Syrus,  532 ;  Barheb.  I.  384, 


36  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Of  the  head  of  the  Jewish  community  the  Muslims 
have  very  little  to  say.  According  to  Jewish  report  he 
passed  through  hard  times  in  the  4/10th  century1.  In 
the  sixth  century  Benjamin  of  Tudela  and  Petachja  of 
Kegensburg  speak  of  the  head  of  the  Jewish  community. 
The  division  of  Islam  into  the  Caliphate  of  Baghdad  and 
that  of  Cairo  had  apparently  also  affected  the  organiza- 
tion of  Jewish  community.  Thus  we  hear  of  the 
Rosligalutlia  at  Baghdad,  (to  whom  the  title  of  Sayyadava 
(our  Lord)  was  given  by  the  Muslims,)  whose  commands 
were  obeyed  only  East  of  the  Euphrates2  and  of  the  Bar 
hassarim  (Prince  of  Princes)  in  Cairo  who  appointed  rabbis 
in  Syria  and  Egypt — the  dominion  of  the  Fatimides3. 

This  isolated  position  of  the  CaireneWa#iV7s  was  aiti- 
ficially  created  by  the  Fatimide  opposition  to  all  things 
Baghdadian.  We  have  a  letter  of  an  Egyptian  head  of 
the  community  (dating  from  the  Xllth  century,  directly 
after  the  fall  of  the  Fatimides)  to  whom  an  objectionable 
leader  of  prayer  had  been  given  from  Baghdad4.  The 
number  of  Jews  in  the  Muslim  Empire  (excluding  the  West 
is  stated  by  Benjamin  (who  travelled  in  A.  D.  1165)  to  be 
somewhere  near  300,000.  Twenty  years  later  Rabbi 
Petachja  assesses  their  number  in  Babylon  alone  at 
600,0005.  To  the  Syria  of  the  4/10th  century  these 
figures  are  not  applicable,  for  the  political  measures  of 
the  Crusaders  had  practically  destroyed  the  Jewish  com- 
munity within  their  jurisdiction6.  Benjamin  fixes  the 
inhabitants  of  the  Ghetto  of  Jerusalem  at  four7.  Peta- 
aohja  did  not  find  even  one.  According  to  the  report  of 
Bailo  Morsillius  Georgius,  dated  October  1243,  there 
were  only  nine  adult  Jews  in  that  third  of  Tyre  which 
belonged  to  the  Venetians8. 

According  to  Benjamin,  on  the  other  hand,  there  were 
3,000  Jews  under  Muslim  rule  in  Damascus — according 
to  Petachja  10,000  and  5,000  in  Aleppo.  But  they  were 
very  plentiful  on  the  Euphrates  and  the  Tigris,  just  as 
they  were  very  plentiful  at  that  time  on  the  Rhine  and 

(l)  H.  Qraetz,  Gesch.  dcr  Jicden  v,  pp.  27  6  et.  sqq.  As  to  the 
Muslim  account,  Goldziher  Rev.  Etud.  Juives  viii,  121  ff.  According 
to  the  popular  belief  the  Jewish  chief  is  to  haye  such  long  arms  that 
he  may  touch  the  knee  with  his  finger  tips.  Mafatih  al-  Ulum,  ed.  Van 
Vloten,  p.  35.  (2)  Benjamin,  61,  according  to  P.  also  at  Damascus  and 
Acco.  (3)  Benjamin,  98.  (4)  Mitteil  Samml.  Erzh.  Bainer  V. 
130.  (5)  p.  289.  (6)  On  the  Jews  in  the  Middle  Ages,  See  Depping, 
Die  yulen  im  MittelaUer.  Stuttgart,  1834  Tr.  (7)  Only  one  MS.  has  the 
figure  200.  (8)  Tafel  und  Thomas,  Urkunden  zur  alteren  Handeh  nnd 
Staatsgeschichte  der  Republik  Vencdig,  Vienna,  1856.  II,  359. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  37 

Mosel.  On  the  Tigris  they  were  particularly  so.  From 
Nineveh  down  the  Tigris  there  were  Jewish  communities 
in  all  the  towns  and  villages1  :  in  Jazirat  ibn  Omar  4,000 ; 
Mosul  7,000  (according  to  P.  6,000);  in  Harbah,  the  most 
Northern  town  of  Babylonia,  15,000;  in  Ukbara  and  Wasit, 
10,000  each  town.  But  it  is  somewhat  surprising  that  at 
Baghdad  itself  there  were  only  1,000  Jews2.  The  Jewish 
towns  on  the  Euphrates  were  Hillah  with  10,000  ;  Kufa 
with  7,000;  Basra  with  2,000  Jews.  In  the  beginning 
of  the  4/10th  century  Sura  and  Nahr  Malik  were 
almost  entirely  Jewish*.  Towards  the  East  the 
Jewish  community  were  more  and  moro  numerous  : 
Haniadan  30,000  ;  Ispahan  15,OOC  ;  Shiraz  10,000  ;  Ghazni 
80,000 ;  Samarqand  30*000*.  Makaddasi  confirms  these 
figures  of  the  4/10th  century.  In  Khorasan,  he  says, 
there  are  many  Jews  and  few  Christians5 ;  in  Media  more 
Jews  than  Christians8.  There  were,  however,  only  two 
towns  of  the  Empire  in  the  East  which  were  called  cYah- 
udiyyah,'  towns  of  the  Jews  ;  one  was  situated  near 
Ispahan  and  the  other  east  of  Merv.  In  Ehuzistan  Muq- 
addasi  found  few  Christians,  and  not  many  more  Jews 
or  Zaratlmstrians7.  In  Fars  the  Magians  were  more 
numerous  than  the  Jews  ;  the  Christians  even  fewer 
than  the  Jews8. 

In  Arabia  itself  there  were  more  Jews  than  Christians. 
In  Qurh — the  second  great  town  of  Hijaz — the  'majority 
of  the  population  was  Jewish*.  For  Egypt  Benjamin's 
figures  are  much  lower10  ;  Cairo  7,000 ;  Alexandria 
3,000  ;  the  Deltaic  towns  about  3,000 ;  and  (500  in  all  in 
the  commercial  centres  of  Upper  Egypt. 

The  numerical  strength  of  the  Christians  can  be  only 
very  imperfectly  fixed.  The  assessment  of  taxes  in  Baby- 
lonia under  Omar  I  shows  some  500,000  souls,  liable  to 

(1)  Petachja,  279.  (2)  p.  19  ;  Pet,  280.  Today  there  are  over 
40,000  Jews  there  with  21  synagogues.  Obermeyer,  Modrrnes  Juden- 
turn,  p.  23.  Vienna  1907  .  The  latest  edition  of  B  reads  40,000.  This 
neither  agrees  with  P  nor  fits  in  with  the  amount  of  the  capitation-tax. 
(3)  Ibn  al-Kifti,  194.  (4)  The  numbers  are  merely  conjectural  as  P 
did  not  visit  the  East.  One  little  Arab  town  of  Khaibar  is  said  to 
have  counted  50,000  Jews.  (5)  P.  323.  (6)  P.  394.  (7)  P.  414.  (8) 
P.  439.  A  writer  of  the  XlVth  century  tells  us  that  little  Persian 
towns  of  Abarquh  was  noted  for  the  fact  that  there  the  Jews  were  not 
allowed  to  stay  more  than  forty  days.  After  that  period  if  they  con- 
tinued to  live  there  they  forfeited  their  life.  Hamadallah  Mustawfi. 
G.  Le  Strange,  1903,  P.  65.  (9)  Maq.  P.  184. 

(10)  This  agrees  with  Maq  (P.  202)  M  few  Jews. "  In  antiquity  they 
are  said  to  have  constituted  more  than  an  eighth  of  the  population. 
(Caro,  Wirtschaftsgeschichte,  1,  27.) 


38  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

capitation-tax.  This  suggests  about  a  million  and  a 
half  of  protected  subjects  inclusive  of  Jews1.  According 
to  the  Egyptian  census  of  the  2/8th  century  there  were 
five  million  Copts  paying  capitation- tax.  This  indicates 
the  existence  of  some  15  million  Coptic  Christians2.  At 
the  beginning  of  the  3rd/9th  century  Baghdad  yielded 
] £0,000  dirhams  and  at  the  beginning  of  the  4/10th 
century  16,000  dinars  in  capitation -tax:t.  Both  figures 
show  some  15,000  non-Muslim  subjects  liable  to  taxation. 
Of  these  1,000  must  have  been  Jews.  We  can  thus,  with 
tolerable  certainty  assume,  the  Christian  population  to 
have  been  somewhere  between  40  to  50,000  at  Baghdad. 
The  only  two  towns,  between  the  Euphrates  and  the 
Tigris,  where  Ibn  Haukal  finds  a  preponderance  of  the 
Christian  population,  are  Edessa  and  Tekrit,  the  head- 
quarters of  the  Jaqcobites,  and  the  seat  of  their  patriarch. 
Some  of  its  old  churches  and  cloisters  go  back,  says  Ibn 
Haukal,  to  the  times  of  Jesus  and  the  apostles1.  In 
Babylonia,  chiefly  in  Southern  Persia,  there  was  a  consi- 
derable population  of  the  Zarathustrians5.  A  riot  is 
reported  between  them  and  the  Muslims  in  369/979  in 
Shiran.  Their  houses  were  plundered  and  Adad-ad- 
Dawlah  punished  every  one  concerned  in  it0.  But  as  a 
rule  Shiraz  was  very  peaceful.  Makkadasi  is  surprised 
that  the  Zarathustrians  there  bear  no  distinguishing  marks 
and  that  the  whole  town  is  bedecked  on  the  occasions  of 
the  feasts  of  the  infidel.  When  in  the  year  371/981  the 
cheif  of  the  Sufis  died,  Muslims,  Jews,  and  Christiajis  form- 
ed the  funeral  cortege.  In  the  Eastern  Persian  desert  only 
al-Qarinain  was  inhabited  by  the  Zarathustrians,  who 
mostly  lived  by  letting  out  donkeys  on  hire  and  roamed 
about  in  all  directions  . 

About  the  end  of  the  2/8th  century  under  the  Caliph 
Amin,  the  Sabian  community  flourished  for  the  last  time. 
"  Then  paganism  once  again  attained  its  splendour  in 
Harran.  Attired  in  costly  clothes,  decked  with  myrtles 
and  roses,  with  little  bells  attached  to  their  horns,  oxen 
were  led  through  the  streets,  followed  by  flute-players8.'7 


(1)    Ibn  Khurd.  p.   14.  (2)     According  to  the  census  of  1907  Egypt 
shows  only  twelve  million  inhabitants. 

(3)  Ibn  Khnrd.  p.  125 ;  according  to  Qod   (p.  251)    the  capitation- 
tax  for  the  year  204/819  was  200,000  drihams. 

(4)  P.  156. 

(5)  Muq.  p.  126. 

(6)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  522. 

(7)  Qod,   209,        (8)    Mich,  Syrus,  497. 


$HE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  39 

In  the  twentieth  year  of  the  fourth  century  (i.  e.  tenth 
century  A.  D.)  the  Caliph  sent  for  the  opinion  of  the 
Inspector  of  Industries  at  Baghdad  regarding  them.  The 
opinion  was  as  follows  :  "They  should  be  killed,  for 
they  are  neither  Christians  nor  Jews,  but  are  worshippers 
of  stars/'  It  cost  the  Sabians  a  great  deal  to  pacify 
the  Caliph1.  An  edict,  issued  about  the  middle  of  the 
century,  reafirined  the  protection  promised  to  them 
and  they  were  permitted  to  live  in  Harran,  Raqqah  and 
the  Osrhoene2.  But  about  400/1009  they  had  almost 
disappeared.  Ibn  Hazm  fixes  their  number  approximately 
at  forty*.  Legally  no  calling  or  profession  was  closed 
to  the  protected  subjects.  In  those  lucrative  occupations, 
such  as  banking,  large  commercial  ventures,  linen  trade, 
land-ownership,  medical  profession,  the  Christians  and 
Jews  were  thickly  represented  and  firmly  established1. 

They  so  arranged  among  themselves  that  in  Syria, 
for  instance,  most  of  the  financiers  were  Jews  and 
most  of  the  physicians  and  '  scribes '  Christians0". 
Even  at  Baghdad  the  head  of  the  Christian  community 
was  the  Court  physician,  and  the  Court  banker  the  head 
of  the  Jewish  community6. 

In  the  lowest  class  of  tax-payers  were  the  Jewish 
money-changers,  tanners,  shoe-makers,  and  particularly 
dyers7.  At  Jerusalem  Benjamin  of  Tudela  (12th  cen- 
tury) found  the  Jews  in  complete  monopoly  of  the  dyers' 
trade*.  Even  the  twelve  Jews  that  lived  at  Bethlehem 
we^fi  all  dyers'*.  Wherever,  indeed,  there  lived  even  a 
single  Jew  in  a  locality  he  was  certain  to  be  a  dyer10. 

(1)     Subki,  II,  193.  (2)  Rasa'il  of  Sabi.    Leydon,  fol.  211a  ~~ 

(3)  Kit.  al-Fixal,  II,  115. 

(4)  Abu  Yusuf,  Kit.  al-  Khiraj,  69. 

(5)  Maq.  183. 

(6)  The  physician   Gabriel  and  his  colleague    Michael    chose,  for  in- 
stance,   the   Nestorian   Catholicos  in  the  year  210/825  (Barhob.     Chron. 
cedes,   III,  187).     In   a    poem  of  Abu   Nawas  (d.  circa  195/810)   there 
occurs  :    'I   questioned  my  friend,    Abu   Isa   and   the  wise  Gabriel   and 
said  :    Wine   is    gratifying    unto  me.  To    this  he  rejoined  :  Too  much  of 
it  kills,  but  four  doses,  for  each  element,  are  permissible.' 

And  in  far  off  Nisabur  sings  a  poet  :  'When  I  found  my  body  full 
of  ailments  and  pain  in  my  joints,  I  sent  or  a  Shaikh  of  the  capitation- 
tax  payers  whose  father's  brother  was  a  Patriarch  and  whose  mother's 
brother  a  Catholicos'  (Yathimah,  IV,  306).  (7)  Kit.  al-  Khiraj,  69 ; 
Maq.  183.  'Like  a  sandal  from  the  shop  of  the  Jew  Ibn  Esrah'  says 
Abulqasim  (ed.  Mex.  42).  The  Jews  of  Ispahan  specially  carried  on 
humble  trades,  such  as  those  of  cupping,  tanning,  fulling  and,  worked 
as  butchers,  Abu  Nuaim,  Leyden  MS.  fol.  lla  (8)  p.  35*  (9)  n  40 
(10)  pp.  32,  43,  44,  49.  * '  ' 


40  THE  HENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  Hanafite  and  Hanbalite  laws  the  life  of  a  pro- 
tected-subject  was  placed  on  precisely  the  same  footing 
as  that  of  a  Muslim — a  most  important  principle  indeed. 
The  very  same  blood  money  was  payable  in  either  case. 
According  to  Malik,  however,  the  murder  of  a  Christian 
or  of  a  Jew  could  be  atoned  for  on  payment  of  half  the 
amount  required  in  the  case  of  a  Muslim  ;  according  to 
Shafa'i  by  a  third  and  in  the  case  of  a  Parsi  by  a  fifteenth 
part  only1. 

It  was  regarded  as  an  offence  to  say  to  a  Muslim  :  You 
Jew,  you  Christian2. 

The  Government  nevor  interfered  with  the  worship 
of  the  tolerated-subjects  ;  in  fact,  it  looked  with  favour 
upon  the  frequently  noisy  celebration  of  Christian 
feasts*. 

In  the  case  of  failure  of  rain  the  Government  actually 
ordered  processions  of  Christians  with  their  Bishop  at 
the  head,  and  of  Jews  with  trumpeters1, 

MonaBticism  continued  in  peaceful  prosperity '.  For 
instance,  it  is  reported  of  Dair  Qura,  about  100  kilometres 
South  of  Baghdad,  a  mile  east  of  the  Tigris  :  "a  fine,  char- 
ming, thriving  cloister,  containing  100  small  cottages  for 
the  monks — each  with  one  occupant.  A  monk  was  allow- 
ed to  sell  his  cottage  to  another — the  price  varying  from 
50  to  1,000  dinars  .  Every  one  of  these  little  cottages 
stood  in  the  midst  of  a  fruit  garden,  where  all  kinds  of 
fruits,  date-palms,  and  olive-trees  grew,  yielding  an  in- 
come between  50  and  200  dinars.  Eight  through  the 
grounds  of  the  monastery,  which  were  enclosed  by  a  high 
wall,  there  ilowcd  a  canal.  On  these  grounds  the  festival 
of  the  Cross  was  celebrated  and  the  people  flocked  to  it7." 

The  largest  monastery  of  Egypt  was  that  of  St. 
Anthony,  south  of  Cairo,  in  the  desert,  three  days'  journey 

fl]  Yahya  ibn  Adam,  55 ;  Sachan,  MuIi.  Recht,  787.  In  Gaul,  for 
instance,  tbo  WchnjM  for  a  free  Frank  \vas  twice  as  imicli  as  for  a 
Roman  citizen.  L2J  Qodamab,  Paris,  Arab.  5907.  [3]  In  theory,  they 
wore  not  allowed  to  carry  banners,  crucifixes,  torches,  (Kit.  al-Khiraj 
but  this  prohibition  was  never  actually  enforced.  [4]  Diony. 
V.  Telmaohre,  176.  See  Guy  Le  Stange,  Baghdad  duriny  the  Abbasid 
Caliphate,  p.  212  et.  Sqq.  Tr. 

[5]     Guy  Lo  Strange,  Baglulad  under  the  Caliphate,  p.  207  et  sqq.  [Tr], 

[6]  It  is  reported  that  about  the  year  300/912  parents  used  to  pur- 
chase a  cell  for  a  son  joining  the  monastery.  Yaqut,  Irshad,!!,  24. 

[7]  Schabusti,  Book  of  the  Cloister,  fol.  1156,  also  Streck,  284.  On 
the  Mesopotamia!!  monk  life  up  to  the  3/9th  century,  Sec  Budge,  Book 
of  Governors,  CXLCII  ff. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  tSLAM  41 

from  the  Nile,  high  up  on  a  hill.  Ic  owned  rich  estates 
and  possessed  property  in  the  town.  Within  the  walls 
of  this  monastery,  besides  a  large  vine-yard,  vegetable 
gardens,  three  springs  and  various  fruit  trees,  there  were 
as  many  as  3,000  date-palms1. 

In  the  Byzantine  Empire  the  State -Church  proceeded 
far  more  drastically  against  fellow-Christians  of  differing 
sects  than  did  Islam  against  her  protected-subjects. 
When  in  the  4/10th  century  the  Emperor  Nicephorus 
reconquered  the  Syrian  territory  he  specially  assured  the 
inhabitants  that  he  would  protect  them  from  the  harassing 
interferences  of  the  State-Church.  This  promise  not- 
withstanding, he  insulted  the  Jacobites  as  much  as  he 
could ;  for  instance,'  compelled  them  to  leave  Antioch. 
The  Jacobite  chronicler  calls  tho  Imperial  patriarch  more 
perverse  than  the  Pharaoh  and  more  sacrilegious  than 
Nebucliadue/zar.  From  the  reconquered  Meliteno  the  Ja- 
cobite Patriarch,  along  with  seven  theologians,  was  taken 
and  imprisoned  at  Constantinople  and  the  great  Church 
there  was  made  over  to  the  Orthodox  community2. 
The  Patriarch  died  in  exile  at  the  Bulgarian  frontier;  one 
of  his  companions  perished  in  prison  ;  another  was  stoned 
in  front  of  the  gatu  of  the  Imperial  Palaue.  Three  abjured 
their  faith  and  wore  rebaptised  but  found  no  peace  after, 
becoming  the  butt  of  ridicule.  The  leaders  of  the  Syrian 
church  found  it  impossible  to  continue  their  residence  at 
tho  seat  of  the  'Orthodox1  patriarch  and  had,  accord- 
ingly, to  remove  to  Amida,  the  more  tolerant  country 
of  the  infidels3. 

The  State-church  forbade  tho  use  of  bells  to  the  Ar- 
menian Christians1. 

Often  enough  the  Muslim  police  had  to  interfere  when 
the  different  Christian  parties  fought  each  other.  Thus  in 
the  3/9th  century  the  Governor  of  Antioch  appointed  an 
officer  to  whom  the  Christian  community  paid  30  dinars 
Dgr  month,  who  was  posted  near  the  altar  and  whose  duty 
iFwas  to  see  that  members  of  contending  parties  did  not 
murder  each  other \ 

[1]  Abu  Salih,  ed.  Evetts,  foi.  546.  As  poverty  was  insisted  upon 
by  the  monastic  rules  of  Egypt,  the  Egyptian  monasteries  were  built 
on  quite  a  different  plan  from  those  of  Syria. 

[2]  Michael  Syrns,  556  ff.  [3]  Barheb.  1,432  flf.  [4]  Schlumberger, 
Epopse  Byzantine,  68.  Just  as  the  English  Church  acted  towards  the 
Catholics  right  up  to  the  19th  century,  and  the  Spanish  and  Chilian 
churches  even  later  towards  the  Protestants.  [5]  Mich.  Syrus,  517, 


42  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  Christian  community  at  Tiirnis  (Egypt)  great 
trouble  arose  in  the  20th  year  of  the  4/10th  century  over 
the  election  of  a  bishop.  "  Father  did  not  speak  to  his 
son  nor  wife  to  her  husband. "  In  the  end  they  had  to 
invoke  the  aid  of  the  Government  which  put  a  seal  on 
the  door  of  the  main  church1. 

About  the  year  200/815  the  Caliph  Mamun  wanted  to 
give  to  the  protected  subjects-'  complete  freedom  regard- 
ing their  faith  and  the  management  of  their  ecclesiastical 
affairs.  Every  community  of  whatever  persuasion — 
even  if  it  consisted  of  only  ten  souls — was  to  be  permitted 
to  choose  its  own  spiritual  chief  and  such  an  one  was  to 
receive  the  Caliph's  recognition.  But  in  consequence  of 
the  agitation  of  tho  various  Church  dignitaries  the  Caliph 
stayed  his  hand. 

As  regards  tho  construction  of  churches  the   Sassanids 
showed  greater  toleration  than  did  the  later  lloman   Law 
which    forbade   the     erection   of  new   synagogues   to   the 
Jews  and   only   permitted   the  repair  of   those   in    ruins. 
In  Islam,  the  Persian  and  tho  Roman,    the  milder  and  the 
harsher  views,  were     indiscriminately  applied.      At   times 
new   churches   were   allowed  to  be    built;  at   others   old 
churches   in  ruins  were  not  permitted  to  bo  repaired.     The 
pious   Governor  of  Egypt,    between   169  to   171/785-787, 
destroyed  all    tho  newly-built   churches  there  although  ho 
was  offered  50,000  dinars  as  bribe.     This  fact   the   chronic- 
ler states    with     admiration.      His     successor,    however, 
permitted   the  re-construction  of    those  Churches  and  the 
theologians  decreed   that    construction   of  churches    was 
part   of  the  economic  system   of  the  country  and  argued 
that  such  was  the  correct  view  from  the  fact  that  all  exist- 
ing churches   in   old   Cairo   were  built  under   the   Islamic 
sway'.    When   about   the  year  300/912  in   Tinnis  (Egypt) 
a  church   was  destroyed,     the    Government    helped  the 
Christians  in  rebuilding   it*.      In   the  year   326/938   the 
Christians  gave  money  to  the  Egyptian  Amir  to  induce 
him  to  sanction   tho  repair  of  a  church   in   ruins.       He 
replied  :    First  bring  legal  opinion  on  the  subject.      Ibir 
al-Haddad  decided  that   permission  should  be  refused  and 
so  did   the  Malekites,  but   Mohamad   ibn  Ali  held,  on  the 
other  hand,  that  it  was  permissible  to  make  improvements 

[1]  Yahya  ilm  Sai'd,  Paris,  83h.  [2]  Saehan,  on  tho  legal  position  of 
tho  Christians  in  tho  Sassanid  Empire.  NcttciL  dcx  Sam.  fur  Oriental  ixchc 
Sprachcn  X,  2.  [3J  Kindi,  Ed.  Guest,  181. 

[4]     Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  Paris,  fol.  81  a. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  43 

and  to  rebuild  churches  in  ruins.  On  this  decision  being 
made  public,  the  people  set  fire  to  his  house  and  called 
upon  him  to  forthwith  repent  and  recant.  The  populace 
raved,  barricaded  the  streets,  and  surrounded  the  church. 
The  soldiers  were  called  in  to  restore  order,  but  stones  were 
thrown  at  them  and  the  ruler  recalled  them.  Then  he 
summoned  the  Mufti  Abu  Bakr  ibn  al-Haddad  who  had 
decided  against  the  Christians  and  spoke  to  him  thus  : 
"Go  to  the  church.  If  it  is  not  entirely  in  ruins,  let  it 
stand  or  else  pull  it  down.  May  God  curse  them  !"  He 
took  an  architect  with  him  who  with  candle  in  hand  ex- 
amined the  church  and  reported  :  It  can  still  continue 
for  15  years,  then  a  part  of  it  will  collapse.  The  remainder 
will,  however,  continue  for  another  forty  years,  and  then, 
if  the  building  is  unattended  to,  the  entire  structure  will 
fall  down.  Upon  this  report  the  Amir  forbade  repairs. 
In  3GO/97G  it  was,  however,  repaired ;  this  was  just  be- 
fore tho  completion  of  forty  years  and  the  church  was 
saved'. 

In  the  hospitals  of  the  Capital,  protected-subjects 
were  treated  in  precisely  the  same  way  as  Muslims.  Only 
in  the  year  of  the  plague  at  the  beginning  of  the  4/10th 
century,  tho  wazir  directed  the  Caliph's  physician,  in 
charge  of  medical  aid  and  medicines,  outside  the  capital, 
to  attend  to  Muslims  first3.  Tho  dead  were,  of  course, 
buried  separately.  It  is,  however,  stated  that  in  the  year 
319/931,  011  the  occasion  of  the  floods  in  Tekrit,  a  Baby- 
lonian town,  the  dead,  both  Muslims  and  Christians,  were 
buried  together  with  the  result  that  it  was  impossible  to 
distinguish  tho  grave  of  one  from  that  of  the  other*'. 
There  were  no  ghettoes  for  Christians  and  Jews,  although 
people  of  the  same  faith  lived  close  to  each  other.  In 
Baghdad,  for  instance,  Christian  cloisters  were  to  be 
found  in  all  parts  of  the  town, 

As  the  Muslim  Law  was  only  meant  for  Muslims, 
people  of  other  faiths  were  left  to  seek  remedy  in  their  own 
Courts.  These  courts,  so  far  as  we  are  aware,  were  ex- 
clusively ecclesiastical.  The  heads  of  the  churches  acted 
as  Judges  and,  in  fact,  published  several  law  books. 
Their  jurisdiction  extended  not  merely  to  marriage  and  in- 
heritance but  also  to  most  of  the  disputes  occurring  among 
Christians.  With  these  disputes  the  State  did  not  concern 
itself.  But  the  protected-subject  was  not  debarred  from 

[1]    Tallquist,  321,  f.  Supplement  to  Kindi,  p.  554.       [2]    Ibn  al- 
Kifti,  Ed.  Lippert,  194.  [3]  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  174. 


44  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

seeking  relief  in  a  Muslim  court.  This,  however,  was 
regarded  with  displeasure  by  the  Church.  The  catho- 
licos  TimotheuB  (cir.  200/800)  published  rules,  intended 
for  removal  of  all  excuses  to  Christians  for  seeking  relief 
in  Islamic  courts,  on  the  ground  of  want  of  legal  assistance 
in  their  own  system'.  And  SS  12  and  13  of  this  Book 
of  Rules  imposes  upon  every  one,  seeking  .relief  from 
Islamic  courts,  punishment  such  as  penance,  alms,  sack- 
cloth and  ashes'.  His  successor  even  decreed  excom- 
munication for  it.  In  the  year  120/738  the  Qadhi  of  old 
Cairo  first  sat  in  the  mosque  to  deal  with  cases  of  the 
faithful,  and  then  on  tho  steps,  to  deal  with  those  of  the 
Christians'.  Later  the  Qadhi  there  set  apart  a  day  in 
tho  \veek  at  his  residence  to  hear  cases  of  Christians.  The 
Qadhi  who  acted  in  177/793  actually  took  the  Christians 
inside  the  mosque.  In  any  case  the  Islamic  State  did 
not  compel  any  protected-subject  to  submit  to  the  juris- 
diction of  the  Qadhi  if  he  wras  not  so  inclined J.  But 
once  he  submitted  to  his  jurisdiction  the  trial  proceeded 
according  to  Muslim  Law  and  he  had  to  abide  by  it/ 

In  the  laws  issued  by  the  patriarchs  which  have  come 
down  to  us,  only  ecclesiastical  punishments  are  mentioned; 
for  instance,  reprimand  before  the  assembled  community  ; 
standing  in  sackcloth  and  ashes  before  the  church; 
payment  of  atonement-money  to  the  church;  exlcusion  from 
the  church,  tho  sacrament  and  Christian  burial6'.  For 
instance  the  punishment  for  ono  who  assaults  another 
Christian  is  prohibition  from  attending  church  or  receiv- 
ing sacrament  for  two  months.  Every  Sunday  he  is  to 
stand  in  sackcloth  and  ashes  and  give  alms  to  the  poor 
according  to  his  means7.  We  o.lso  learn  from  a  reliable 
Spanish  source  that  there  too  the  Christians  settled  their 
disputes  among  themselves  and  that  only  in  cases  of 
capital  sentence  had  the  Qadhi  to  be  consulted.  They 
placed  the  condemned  criminal  before  the  Qadhi,  sub- 
mitted proofs,  and  if  he  said  c  bene  est'  the  offender  was 
put  to  death*. 

According  to  R.  Petachja  the  chiefs  of  the  Jewish 
community  in  Mosul  were  permitted  to  punish  their  own 
people  even  in  cases  where  a  Muslim  was  concerned, 

[11     Sachan  Syrisclie  RechtbueJier,  II,  57.  [2]     Ibid,  67,  p.  169. 
[3]     Kindi,  Ed.  Guest,  361.    [4]  Maverdi,  Ed;  Enger  p.  109.  [5]  Thus  in 
the  draft   of  a  Qadhi's  patent  in  Qodamah  [written  shortly  after  316/928] 
Paris,  Arah.  5907  [6]  Sachu,  S?/r  Recht.  II  p.  VI  [7]  Ihid.  p.    681.    [8] 
Graf  Baudissin,  Enlogim  und  4 tow,  p.  13. 


THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM  45 

There  was  there  a  Jewish  prison  where  the  offenders  were 
incarcerated1. 

The  disability  which  the  non-Muslims  felt  most 
keenly  was  one  which  they  shared  with  slaves  ;  namely 
their  incompetence  to  depose  in  a  law  court.  According 
to  certain  jurists  they  could  not  depose  even  against  one 
of  their  own  people.  Others,  however,  made  some  excep- 
tions2. 

As  a  return  for  the  protection  accorded  to  them  by 
Government  the  tolerated  subjects  paid  capitation-tax 
each  according  to  his  means  :  1%,  24,  48  dirhams,  and  in 
countries  of  gold  currency,  1,2,3  dinars,  per  head  per  an- 
num. It  was  a  tax  in  commutation  of  military  service  ; 
only  adults  capable  of  bearing  arms  paid  it. 

Cripples  and  monks,  if  they  were  not  self-supporting, 
were  exempted''. 

Even  in  the  Byzantine  Empire  every  non-Christian 
Jew  and  Magi  an,  had  to  pay  one  dinar  annually  per  head1 
and,  in  the  conquered  countries,  the  Christians  imposed 
capitation-tax  upon  all  Muslims6-  Naturally  the  major 

portion  of  the  tolerated-subjects  paid  the  lowest  amount. 
Thus  Benjamin  of  Tudela  reports  that  the  Jews  pay  one 
gold  piece  per  head  in  all  Muslim  countries8.  Likewise 
Potachja  :  The  Jews  of  Babylon  pay  no  tribute  to  the 
Caliph—only  a  gold  piece  annually  to  Resgalutha7.  In 
October  1243  the  Venetian  Bailo  Marsilius  Georgius  reports 
from  Tyre  :  Every  male  Jew,  as  soon  as  he  reaches  his 
fifteenth  year,  pays  to  our  officer  one  Bisantiits,  on  the 
feast  of  All-Saints8. 

Notwithstanding    different     currencies,     the    amount 

(i;    P.  276. 

(2)  Sachau,  Muli.  Recht.  739  ;  Kindi,  351.     According   to   the  patent 
in    Qodamah    (Paris   Arabe   5907,    for.  126)    the   Qadhi    was  to   allow 
Christiana  and  Jews  as   witnesses   against   one  another.     On   the  other 
hand   Christian   courts,   in    Muslim    countries,   had    to   accept,  though 
not  willingly,   the   testimony    of  a  Muslim   against  a  Christian.     Only 
they    insisted   that    the     witness    was    God-fearing   and     unobjection- 
able— qualities  equally  required  by  the   Qadhi    in     the  witnesses   before 
him.     Syr.     Bechtbncher,  II,  107. 

(3)  According    to  B.  of  T.  (p.  77)  and  Marsilius,  15    was  the  lowest 
age  for  the  payment  of  capitation-tax.    In   the  Persian    Empire  it   was 
20  (Noldeke,  Tr.    of    Tabari    247).     (4)   Ibn    Khurd,  p.    III.    (5)   Ibn. 
Haukal,   127.    In  the    year  358/969    when     Basilios    capture  Aleppo, 
along  with  other  taxes  eve*y  adult    had   to  pay    one  dinar    per  head. 
Ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  986.  (6)    p.  77.  Compare  the  Chinese  traveller  on    the 
Persian  capitation-tax.     Noldeke,    Trans,    of  Tahari,   246.  Anm.  2.  (7) 
pp.  275,  228.  (8)  Tafel  und  Thomas,  II.  359. 


46  THE  RENAT8RANCE  OF  TSLAM 

actually  paid  by  each  individual  was  practically   the   same, 
any  variation  being  duo  to   fluctuations  in  the  exchange. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  3/Oth  century  the  Egyptian 
government  was  jwtislied  with  tho  payment  of  half-a- 
diimr.  But  in  300/1,000  the  Egyptian  patriarch  Georgius 
imposed  upon  each  adult-male  member  of  his  flock  li 
dinars  instead  of  half-a-dinar  as  before'. 

When  on  a  visit  to  Egypt  about  the  year  200/815,  the 
patriarch  Dionysius  thus  reports  of  the  famous  linen- 
weaving  town  of  Tinnis  :  Although  Tinnis  has  a  consider- 
able population  and  numerous  churches  we  have  never 
witnessed  greater  distress  than  that  of  its  inhabitants. 
When  we  enquired  into  the  cause  of  it  they  thus  replied  : 
Our  town  is  encompassed  by  water.  We  can  neither  look 
forward  to  a  harvest  nor  can  wo  maintain  a  flock.  Our 
drinking-water  comes  from  afar  arid  costs  us  4  dirhams 
a  pitcher.  Our  trade  is  exclusively  that  of  linen  which 
our  women  spin  and  we  weave.  We  get  from  the  dealers 
half-a-dirham  per  day.  Although  our  earning  is  not 
sufficient  to  feed  our  dogs  we  yet  have  to  pay  5  dinars  a 
head  in  taxes.  They  boat  us,  imprison  us  and  compel  us 
to  give  our  sons  and  daughters  as  securities.  For  every 
dinar  they  have  to  work  for  two  years  as  slaves.  Should 
a  girl  01  a  woman  get  a  child  while  with  them,  they  make 
us  swear  that  we  would  not  claim  them.  It  is  not  un- 
common to  exact  a  fresh  tribute  before  such  a  woman  is 
set  at  liberty.  The  patriarch  replied :  According  to  the 
Law  of  Mesopotamia  they  were  to  pay  the  capitation -tax 
in  this  order  :  rich  48,  middle  class  24,  poor  12  dirhams 
per  year*.  The  taxes  were  collected  in  instalments  of 
six,  five,  four,  three,  two  dirhams {. 

In  the  beginning  this  tax  was  collected  from  the 
Babylonians  every  month,  apparently  because  the  Muslims 
received  out  of  it  their  pension  month  by  month.  Such 
also  was  the  case  in  Spain''  in  the  3/9th  century.  But 


flj     Mittril.  au*  den  Samlnmjm  Jtainer  II/I1I,    176    ff. 

|2]  Mich.  Synis,  p.  510.  In  Syria  the  pig  was  an  object  of  special 
taxation.  Bailo  of  Tyre  reports  that  up  to  his  time  every  Christian 
who  killed  or  sold  a  pig  had  to  pay  four  dinars  to  the  king.  The 
Venetians  abolished  this  tax.  Tafel  and  Thomas,  Urkundcn  zur 
altercn  Handel*  nnd  Staatsgesch.  dcr  Bepublik  Venedig,  Vienna  1866. 
II,  350.  (3j  As  in  the  Persian  Empire,  Tahari  (Noldeke's  transj  p. 
242  ;  Dionysitis,  61,  Tanya  ihn  Adam,  p.  56.  (4)  Leovigildus,  De 
habitu  Clericornm  (Esp.  Sagr,  XI) :  Vcctigal  quod  Omni  lunari  Mense 
pro  Christi  nomine  solver?  cogimur.  Eulogious  Memoriale,  1,247 : 
quod  lunariter  solvimus  cum  gravi  morrore  tribntum,  according  to  Graf 
Bandissin,  Eulogius  nnd  Alvar,  p.  10. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  47 

later  in  the  year  366/976  it  was  ordered  to  be  collected 
in  the  first  month  of  the  year.  Women,  minors,  old  men, 
people  out  of  work,  indigent  and  unmarried  monks,  were 
exempt  foni  payment7.  On  payment  a  paper  receipt 
was  usually  given.  In  harsher  times  they  tied  the  quit- 
tance-receipt round  the  neck  and  put  a  stamp  on  the 
hand  of  the  protected- subject'.  This  was  an  old  Baby- 
lonian custom.  The  slave  there  carried  a  small  cone  of 
burnt  clay  bearing  his  and  his  master's  name  (Alashriq, 
V,  651).  .The  Talinudic  Jews  marked  their  slaves  by  a 
seal  either  on  his  neck  or  on  his  coat  (Krausa,  Talinudische 
Arclucoloyie,  II,  89). 

In  the  year  500  A.D.  the  Governor  of  Edcssa  fastened 
a  leaden  seal  round  the  neck  of  those  poor  of  the  town  who 
received  a  ration  of  a  pound  of  bread  per  day1'. 

Tho  old  jurists  Abu  Yusuf  and  Yaliya  tbn  Adam  do 
not  say  a  word  about  this  practice.  Apparently  it  was 
but  rarely  enforced.  At  all  events  Dionysius  of  Telia- 
macbre  (d.  845  A.D.)  mentions  it  as  an  exceptional  pro- 
cedure to  send  a  tax-collector,  accompanied  by  a  stamper, 
who  was  to  stamp  the  name  of  the  town  or  of  the 
village  on  the  right  hand  and  on  the  left  the  word  'Meso 
potamia'  and  to  tie  two  discs  round  the  neck,  one  bearing 
the  name  of  the  town  and  the  other  the  name  of  the  dis- 
trict. For  every  three  men  they  exacted  a  stamp-fee 
of  three  dirhams.  Dioiiynius  further  states  that  they 
also  noted  in  their  register  the  name,  the  presonal  descirp- 
tion,  and  the  native-place  of  the  tax-payer.  This  caused 
great  excitement,  for  it  led  to  the  detection  of  many 
strangers  against  whose  name  fictitious  residences,  as 
stated  by  them,  were  recorded.  If  this  method  had  been 
pursued  to  its  legitimate  conclusion,  it  would  have  caused 
greater  mischief  than  ever.  When  the  stamper  saw  that 
lie  had  not  enough  work  on  hand  he  proceeded  into  the 
surrounding  country  and  seized  everyone  he  met.  More 
than  twenty  times  he  visited  the  whole  of  the  neighbour- 
hood and  was  not  satisfied  until  lie  had  brought  all  the 

[11  liaxail  of  Sabi  p.  112,  eel  Ba'abda,  1898.  |2j  In  Egypt  under  the  last 
Omayyads  every  monk  had  to  wear  an  iron  ring  round  his  wrist  and  every 
Christian  a  signet  of  the  shape  of  a  lion  on  his  hand.  Maqrizi,  Klritat,  T.  492 

|3]  Joshua  Stylites,  ed.  Wright,  42.  Even  in  Strassburg  of  the 
XlVth  century  the  poor  of  the  town  had  to  carry  a  public  badge 
[Brucker,  Stra^burf/cr  Znnft-und  Polizriveroi'dnuuyrn,  p.  61J.  In  China 
of  the  9th  century  the  enrolled  prostitutes  carried  a  copper  label  of  the 
Emperor  round  their  necks.  [Renaud,  Relation  des  voyaycs,  69.] 


48  THE  UtiNAlSSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

inhabitants  to  book,  not  one  escaping  him.  Thus  hap- 
pened what  the  prophet  Daniel  and  the  Apostle  James  had 
said :  All  men  received  the  stamp  of  this  animal  on 
their  hands,  on  their  breasts,  on  their  backs1. 

It  is  apparent  that  the  patriarch  does  not  mention  the 
discs  and  the  stamps  as  something  of  common  occurence. 

A  Basran  poet  of  the  first  period  of  the  Abbasids, 
however,  sings  : 

"Love  for  her  is  stamped  on  my  neck,   - 
"It  is  stamped  where  the  seal  is  impressed  on  the 

protected  subjects3." 

According  to  a  writer  quoted  by  Jahiz  (d.  255/869) 
it  is  the  sign  of  an  inn-keeper  to  put  a  seal  on  the  neck 
of  a  protected-subjoct{.  One  such  disc,  found  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Hamadan,  dates  from  the  first  year  of 
the  4/10th  century.  We  have,  indeed,  direct  proof  that 
in  the  first  quarter  of  the  same  century  a  sealed  quittance- 
receipt  was  given  ou  payment  of  this  tax''. 

The  ordinary  clergy  wcro  not  exempt  from  the  capita- 
tion-tax; but  monks,  living  on  charity,  like  other  beg- 
gars, wore7.  In  Egypt,  for  the  first  time  in  31*2/921, 
capitation-tax  was  imposed  on  monks  and  bishops  and 
on  all  monasteries  in  Upper  and  Lower  Egypt  and  of  the 
Sinai  Peninsula.  A  number  of  monks  thereupon  travelled 
to  Baghdad  and  complained  to  the  Caliph  Muqtadir. 
He  forthwith  directed  that  as  in  the  earlier  times,  nothing 
was  to  be  taken  from  monks  and  bishops.6 

Even  in  1664  A.I),  all  Europeans,  all  unmarried  mem- 
bers of  the  Coptic  church,  the  Patriarch,  and  all  Turks, 
i.e.  Muslims,  were  free  from  capitation-tax  in  Egypt.7. 

The  collection  of  the  capitation-tax  was  just  as  harsh 
and  severe  as  was  that  of  other  taxes,  though,  according 
to  law,  all  severity  was  banned.  The  canonical  law  for- 
bade those  old,  tried  methods,  such  as  assault,  torture, 
exposure  in  the  sun,  pouring  of  burning  oil  on  the  head. 
According  to  it,  the  defaulting  tax-payer  was  only  to  be 
kept  in  custody  until  he  paid  up  his  dues8. 

Regarding  the  regulation  as  to  dress,  Harun  al- 
Rashid,  in  the  year  191/807*,  ordered  the  protected  sub- 
jects to  use  cord  instead  of  belts,  stitched  caps,  and  to 


(1)  Dionys.  of  T.  ed.  Chabot,  148.  (2)  Aghani,  III,  26.  (3)  Bayan, 
1,41.  (4)  Masudi,  IX,  15.  (6)  Abu  Yusuf,  p.  70.  (6)  Yahaya  ibn 
Sa'id,  83.  (7)  M.  Wanslebs,  Beschreibung  von  Argijpten,  p.  57. 
(8)  Kit.  al-Khiraj,  p.  69.  (9)  Tabari,  III,  713. 


THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM  49 

refrain  from  using  foot-wear  of  the  same  kind  as  that 
of  the  Muslims.  Instead  of  a  tassel  they  were  to  have  a 
wooden  knob  on  their  saddle.  Instead  of  the  horse- 
saddle  their  women  were  only  permitted  the  use  of  the 
donkey-saddle1. 

In  the  2/8th  century  the  Jews  wore  a  tall  hat  which  has 
been  likened  by  certain  writers  to  a  mile-stone  or  to  a 
pitcher3.  The  Christians  in  those  days  used  a  burnoose, 
but  when  the  tall-hat  (qalansuali^  went  out  of  fashion 
among  Muslims  it  became  the  distinguishing  token  of  a 
Christian5. 

In  the  old  regulations  no  special  colour  is  mentioned. 
The  use  of  a  special  colour  evidently  was  a  purely  local 
custom*.  Jahiz  (d.  255/860)  describes  the  Babylonian 
custom  :  the  proper  wine-dealer  must  be  a  protected- 
subject  bearing  the  name  of  Adin,  Mazbar,  Azdankad, 
Misa  or  Sluma  and  wearing  a  black  and  white  spotted 
dress  and  having  a  seal  on  his  neck. 

At  the  time  of  Harun  al-Eashid,  the  faithful  of  Misr 
abused,  in  the  mosque,  a  Qadhi  whom  they  hated,  but 
the  Qadhi  stood  at  the  door  of  the  mosque  and  called  out  : 
Where  are  the  fellows  in  honey -co  loured  mantles?  Where 
are  the  sons  of  whores  ?  Why  doesn't  one  of  them  say 
what  he  wants  to  enable  me  to  see  and  hear  him5. 

By  an  edict  of  the  Caliph  in  325/849  honey-coloured 
head-gear  and  girdles  were,  for  the  first  time,  prescribed 
for  non-Muslims.  He  who  used  a  Qalansuah  (a  pointed 
cap)  like  that  of  a  Muslim,  has  to  fasten  two  buttons  of 
a  colour  different  from  that  used  on  Muslim  caps.  The 
slaves  of  Christians  and  Jews  were  to  have  a  honey- 
coloured  patch  four  fingers  in  diameter  on  their  chest  and 
on  their  back.  Also  they  were  forbidden  to  use  a  small 
soldier's  belt.  They  were,  'however,  permitted  a  broad 
band  round  their  waist.  On  their  housedoors  a  wooden 
figure  of  the  devil  was  to  be  nailed*.  According  to  an 
ordinance  of  the  year  239/853  they  were  not  to  ride  on 


(1)  Kit.  al-Khiraj,  75.  (2)  Kindi,  ed.  Guest,  p.  424,  In  Egypt  it 
was  called  'burtullah/  In  the  East  it  formed  part  of  the  dress  of  the 
Catholicos.  (3)  Mustatraf  II,  222  a,  E;  Mufid  al-  Ulum,  200  a;  E. 
(4)  Jahiz,  Bayan,  I,  141  (5)  Kindi,  p.  390.  (6)  Tabari  III,  1389  et 
sqq  ;  Maqrizi,  Khitat,IIt  494.  The  Sabians  also  had  to  wear  a  special 
coloured  dress.  Yatimah,  II,  45.  In  the  West,  for  the  first  time  in 
1215  A.  D.  the  Lateran  Council  demanded  a  distinguishing  sign  for  the 
Je^rs.  Probably  this  was  due  to  the  kpo\yledge  of  such  practices  in 
thq  East, 


50  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

horses  but  only  on  mules  and  donkeys1.  All  these  mea- 
sures, however,  were  of  no  avail.  The  protected  subjects 
simply  disregarded  them.  Already  in  the  year  227/885 
the  people  of  Baghdad  rose  against  the  Christians  who, 
in  defiance  of  the  regulation,  rode  on  horses2.  And  about 
the  90th  year  of  this  very  century  Ibn  al-Mutazz  once 
again  complains  that  Christians  give  themselves  airs, 
riding  on  mules  and  using  horse-saddles  (Ibn  al-Mutazz, 
Diwan}  II,  9  ;  Abul  Mahasin,  II,  181).  Pour  year  before 
the  beginning  of  the  4/10th  century  all  these  measures 
were  revived  and  re-inforced.  And  yet  through  the  whole 
of  this  century  (i.e.  the  4th/10th  century)  we  hear  nothing 
of  these  rules.  In  any  case  they  lay  dormant.  With  the 
ascendancy  of  orthodoxy  in  the  5/1 1th  century  they  were 
once  again  taken  more  RerioiiBly. 

In  423/1031  the  Catholicos  of  the  Christians  and  the 
Eas-al-Ghalut  of  the  Jews  pledged  themselves  in  a  solemn 
assembly  on  behalf  of  their  brethern-in-faith,  who  wanted 
to  place  themselves  on  an  equal  footing  with  Muslims, 
that  they  would  once  again  carry  their  distinguishing 
marks.  At  this  time,  as  never  before,  the  rule  came  into 
force  that  protected  subjects  were  not  to  build  their  houses 
higher  than  those  of  the  faithful.  So  far  as  I  am  aware 
Mawardi  is  the  first  to  mention  this  fact'1.  The  idea  soon 
makes  its  way  into  the  West, where  in  1205  Pope  Innocent 
III  complains  that  the  Jews  at  Sens  have  built  a  synagogue 
which  overtops  a  neighbouring  church4. 

There  was  as  much  jeering  and  ill-will  between  religions 
as  between  the  races.  They  spoke  of  the  stench  of  the 
Jews7.  The  Christians  were  dubbed  wine-bibbers  (es- 
pecially on  Easter  day*).  Their  nuns  and  choir  boys  were 
slandered  as  corrupt  and  of  easy  virtue.  The  Sabians 
were  taunted  for  their  hard-heartedness  towards  each 
other7. 

It  was,  indeed,  known  to  cultured  Muslims  that 
Christianity,  more  than  any  other  leligion,  preached  love 
and  meekness  and,  knowing  this,  they  noticed  how  little 
its  professors  lived  up  to  its  teachings,  Jahiz  (d.  255/869) 

(1)  Tabari,  III,  U19.  Even  in  the  Constantinople  of  the  XHth 
century  no  Jew  was  to  ride  a  horse.  Benjamin  of  Tndela,  p.  24. 
(2)  On  this  occasion  the  cloister  of  'Khalil  Yasu'  was  demolished. 
Blias  Nisibenus,  188,  According  to  Tabari  this  happened  in  the  year 
272. 

(8)    Enger's    edition,    p.    428.    (4)  Caro.     I,  296.    (6)    Ibn  Kntaiba. 
Adah  al-Katib,  p.  26,    (8)    Yatimah,  III,  97.    (7)    Ibn   al-Kifti,    898. 


ttENAtSSAtfCE  0$  ISLAM  61 

states  that  all  sharp  practices  come  from  the  Greeks,  not- 
withstanding compassion  being  the  key-note  of  their 
religion1.  Al-Beruni  declared  it  a  noble  philosophy  which 
gives  the  shirt  to  him  who  takes  away  the  coat  ;  which 
offers,  when  struck  on  one,  the  other  cheek  ;  which  blesses 
an  enemy  and  prays  for  all.  But  men  are  not  philosophers 
and  since  the  conversion  of  the  Emperor  Constantino, 
adds  the  author,  the  sword  and  the  lash  have  been  the 
instruments  of  the  Christian  government*. 

The  most  amazing  feature  of  the  Islamic  Government 
is  the  number  of  non-Muslim  officers  in  State  service. 
In  his  own  Empire  the  Muslim  was  ruled  by  Christians7. 
Old  is  the  complaint  that  the  decision  over  the  life  and 
property  of  Muslims  lay  in  the  hand  of  protected  subjects''. 
To  Omar  Pis  ascribed  a  warning  against  making  Christ- 
ians and  Jews  State  officers5. 

Twice  in  the  3/9th  century  even  the  Wat  Ministers  were 
non-Muslims  with  the  result  that  the 'defenders  of  the  faith' 
had  to  kiss  their  hands  and  obey  their  commands".  Like 
Muslims,  Christian  and  Jewish  officers  were  sworn  in. 
The  Diwan  al-Inslui7,  composed  about  810/1436,  mentions 
the  Jewish  'formula  of  oath7  and  states  that  it  was  drafted 
by  Fazl  ibn  al-Rabi,  Chancellor  of  Harun,  and  lias  served 
since  then  as  a  model  for  later  times. 

Against  the  domination  of  protected  subjects,  so  galling 
to  true  Muslims,  were  the  anti-Christian  movements 
directed8.  In  'J35/849  the  Caliph  decreed  that  none  but  a 
Muslim  was  to  hold  a  public  office  and,  in  consequence 
thereof,  even  the  office  of  the  recorder  of  the  level  of  the 
water  of  the  Nile  was  taken  away  from  Christian  overseers. 
But  ten  years  later  this  very  Caliph  placed  the  construct- 
tion  of  his  palace  in  charge  of  a  high  Christian  officer9  and 
by  296/909  the  Christian  'State-Officers'  had  become  so 
powerful  that  the  Caliph  Muqtadir  had  to  resuscitate  the 
ordinances  against  them7*.  Christians  and  Jews  were  to 
hold  no  other  appointments  except  those  of  physicians 
and  tax-collectors'1.  But  Muqtadir's  order  was  so  ridi- 
culously unworkable  that  his  own  Wazir  had  four  Christians 

(1)  Kit.  alJlaw~an%l~l$5~l$)  India,  Translation  II,  161.  (3)  For 
Syria,  Muq.  183;  for  Egypt  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  Paris  fol.  122(?.  (4)  Ibn 
Kutaiba,  Uyun  al-Akhbar,  99.  (5)  Ibn  Kutaiba,  Ibid,  p.  62.  (6)  Wuz, 
95.  (7)  Paris,  MS.  4439.  (8)  Kindi,  203.  (9)  Tabari,  III,  1438. 
(10)  Arib,  30.  (11)  Abulmahasin,  II,  171.  The  papyruses  show  that 
in  Egypt  there  was  a  large  number  of  Christian  tax  collectors.  One 
of  them,  in  the  year  349/960,  actually  had  the  cross  impressed  upon  his 
seal.  Karabacek,  Mitteilungen  II/III,  p.  168. 

*  It  was  Omar  II,  Omar  ibn  Abdul  Aziz,  the  Umayyad — Ed.  "I.  C," 


52  THE  UEtiAlSSAfrCE  Of1  ISLAM 

among  the  nine  privy  Councillors,  who  were  daily  guests 
at  his  table'.  Christian  officers  \yere  found  everywhere. 
Such  already  was  the  case  among  the  Tahirids  *  in  the 
3/9th  century.  And,  in  the  year  319/931,  one  who 
sought  the  Wizarat,  had  to  ingratiate  himself  into  the 
favours  of  Ibrahim,  the  Christian  secretary  of  the  Amir, 
and  Stephan,  secretary  of  the  Field-Munis'3. 

To  get  on  in  the  world  one  had  to  call  attention  to  his 
Christian  connexion.  "My  family  is  connected  with 
yours,  says  an  applicant  for  a  post  under  the  govern- 
ment. My  fore-fathers  held  important  offices  in  the 
Byzantine  Empire.  In  the  days  of  Mutadid  a  crucifix 
fell  from  the  hand  of  my  grand-father,  Ubaidullah  ibn 
Sulaiman,  and,  when  the  people  saw  it,  he  said  :  it  was 
an  amulet  of  our  women-folk,  who  conceal  it  in  our  dress 
without  our  knowledge*."  He  had  calculated  correctly. 
Under  the  very  same  Muqtadir  who  wanted  to  remove 
Christians  from  public  offices,  this  flatterer  of  the  Christ- 
ians became  his  Wazir.  At  the  head  of  the  intriguers 
against  the  all-powerful  Munis  stood  the  eunuch  Muflih. 
His  Christian  secretary,  also  a  eunuch,  then  wielded  the 
greatest  influence'.  In  the  year  324/935  died  Stephan, 
the  Christian  superintendent  of  the  Caliph's  private 
chest6.  The  first  Buwayyad  also  employed  a  Christian 
secretary7  ;  when  the  Wazir  of  Adad-ad-Dawlah  proceeded 
to  Basra  he  left  behind  a  Christian  as  his  representative 
at  the  capital".  The  Caliph  al-Tai  (363-381/993-991)  had 
a  Christian  secretary'',  and  in  the  second-half  of  the  same 
century  both  Adad-ad-Dawlah  (d.  372/982)  at  Baghdad 
and  the  Fatimid  Caliph  al-Aziz  at  Cairo  had  Christians 
for  their  Wazir s.  The  former  sought  and  obtained  per- 
mission of  his  master  to  rebuild  churches  and  cloisters 
and  to  help  his  needy  brethren  with  money H'. 

Later  the  Muslim  jurists  laid  down  that  a  Christian 
or  a  Jew  could  hold  the  post  of  a  Wazir  (Wizarat  al- 
taufid),  piovided  he  was  not  vested  with  absolute  powers". 
At  the  Egyptian  Burah  at  the  beginning  of  the  3/9th 
century,  sat  a  Christian  district  magistrate  who  every 
Friday  donned  the  black  Abbasid  official  dress,  girded 
the  sword  round  his  waist  and  rode  to  the  mosque,  ac- 
companied by  his  guardsmen.  There  he  halted.  His 

(1)  Wuz,  204.  (2)  Schabusti,  Berlin,  fol.  51a.  (3)  Misk  V,  352. 
(4)  Arib,  164.  (5)  Ibid,  112,  (6)  Al-Suli,  Auraq.  Paris;  96.  (7)  Misk, 
V.  465.  (8)  Misk  VI,  310  (9)  Ibn  al-Hajjaj,  Diwan  x,  p.  18  (10) 
Misk  VI  511  ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  518.  (11)  Iqd  al-Farid  of  Abu 
Salim  (d.  652)  p.  147. 


OF  ISLAM  53 


representative,  a  Muslim,  went  into  the  mosque,  prayed 
and  preached  and  then  ruturned  to  his  chief  outside'. 
Under  the  orders  of  the  Amir  a  Muslim  saint,  who  is  said 
to  have  bidden  the  Christian  secretary  of  the  Viceroy  to 
dismount,  was  thrown  to  the  lions2. 

In  the  year  389/999  the  Christian  Secretary  of  State 
of  Egypt,  Fahd,  was  ordered  to  prosecute  all  who  after 
the  death  of  the  Qadhi  were  accused  of  embezzling  funds 
belonging  to  orphans,  depositories,  etc,  Ho  sold  the  pro- 
perty left  by  the  Qadhi  and  dismissed  all  who  had  held 
responsible  offices  under  him,  including  some  most  influ- 
ential Muslim  clerics.  { 

Despite  these  unnatural  conditions  even  Christian 
chroniclers  report  but  few  distrubances  in  the  4/10th 
century  between  Muslims  and  non-Muslims.  In  the  year 
312/924  the  people  in  Damascus  plundered  a  great  church 
and  took  away  200,000  dinars'  worth  of  property  in 
crucifixes,  cups,  dishes,  incense-burners,  cushions. 

They  also  plundered  a  number  of  monasteries.  '' 
About  the  same  time  at  liamla  three  churches  were  des- 
troyed but,  by  the  order  of  the  Caliph,  were  rebuilt.7 
On  the  other  hand  the  bishop  could  get  nothing  when  he 
came  to  Baghdad  to  complain  about  the  church  of  St. 
Mary  at  Ascalon  which  was  burnt  down  by  Muslims.  It 
was  said  to  have  been  done  with  the  help  of  the  Jews  who 
had  collected  wood  and  set  fire  to  it  and  had  gone  on 
the  roof  with  red-hot  rollers  to  melt  the  leaden  sheet 
which  covered  the  roof.  The  result  was  that  the  lead 
melted  away  and  the  pillars  collapsed0. 

In  the  year  329/937  some  churches  in  Jerusalem  were 
plundered  by  Muslims7.  In  the  year  381/991  two  Mus- 
lims abused  a  Christian  astronomer  who  did  not  wear  his 
distinguishing  badge.  Hp  complained  to  his  chief  who 
put  the  two  offenders  into  custody.  Thereupon  two 
churches  were  plundered  and  the  Catholicos  ended  the 
unhappy  affair  by  rich  presents<s.  There  was  also  excite- 
ment over  a  report  that  a  pig  had  been  found  in  a  mosque. 
It  was  said  to  have  been  thrown  in  by  Christians.  In 
the  year  392/1005  the  people  of  Baghdad  were  roused  to 
anger  byjbhe  Deport  of  the  murder  of  a  Muslim.  They 

(1)  Eutychius  Cot-pus  Script.  Christ.  Orient,  p.58.  (2)  Abulmahasin, 
II,  233.  (3)  Supplement  to  Kindi,  Ed.  Guest,  p.  595,  597.  (4)  Yahya 
ibn  Said,  fol.  83,  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  II,  494.  (5)  Yahya,  fol,  81a. 

(6)  Yahya,  f.  84b.  (7)  Yahya,  f.  82b.  (8)  Barhebraeus,  Chrm. 
Bed.  Ill,  259. 


54  TUB  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

set  fire  to  a  church   which  in  collapsing  caused  the  death 
of  quite  a  number  of  people'. 

In  the  year  403/1012  the  funeral  of  the  daughter  of  a 
Christian  physician,  married  to  a  high  Christian  officer, 
took  place  during  the  day  with  the  accompaniment  of 
candles,  drums,  litanies,  monks,  and  women  hired  to 
weep.  A  Hashimid  found  all  this  objectionable.  He 
stoned  the  coflin.  Thereupon  a  clerk  of  the  Christian 
officer  cut  his  head  open  with  his  club.  The  Christians 
then  tied  with  the  cropse  into  the  church  in  the  Greek 
quarter.  The  people  were  inflamed ;  copies  of  the  Quran 
were  displayed  in  the  bazars ;  the  doors  of  the  great 
Mosque  were  closed  and  a  procession  appeared  before  the 
Caliph's  palace.  The  Caliph  ordered  the  officer  to  sur- 
render the  offending  clerk,  but  he  refused.  This  was  fol- 
lowed by  a  fight  in  front  of  his  house. 

An  Alid  was  reported  to  have  been  killed.  This  news 
enraged  the  populace  still  more.  Prayers  were  suspended 
and  some  Christians  killed.  After  long  negotiations  the 
clerk  was  surrendered  to  the  Caliph,  but  after  some  time 
was  again  released'.  At  Baghdad  these  were  mere  isolat- 
ed occurrences.  The  relations  were  strained  then  in 
Egypt  only.  There  a  united  church  and  a  non-Arab 
people  stood  in  opposition  to  the  Arabs.  Not  until  the 
end  of  the  century  did  the  Christians  of  Egypt  begin  to 
forget  their  Coptic  language''.  In  the  first  two  centuries 
one  Coptic  rebellion  followed  another.  In  216/831  the 
last  of  them  was  put  down.  And  yet  the  entire  middle 
class  of  Egypt  was  Christian.  The  Arabs  understood  the 
Copts  as  little  HS  once  the  Greeks  understood  the  Egyptians, 
despite  the  fact  that  Copts  managed  to  introduce 
into  the  traditions  of  the  Prophet  sayings  favourable  to 
themselves.  On  of  these  spurious  traditions  thus  lays 
down  the  role  of  the  Coptic  clerks  in  the  State  :  "The 
Copts  will  help  the  faithful  to  the  path  of  piety  by  re- 
moving worldly  cares  from  them''." 

fl]  Wuz,  443  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  147  b;  Barhobraeus,  Cliron.  ccclex., 
Ill,  2(52  et  sqq.  [2]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  159  a  [3]  This  is  best 
explained  by  what  Maq.,  who  was  there  in  the  third  quarter  of  the 
4/10th  century,  reports:  The  Christians  speak  Coptic  [p.  203];  while 
the  Bishop  of  Ashnmnian  [Egypt]  writing  about  400/1010,  reports  that 
he  had  translated  the  Coptic  and  Greek  documents  into  Arabic  as  most 
of  the  poeple  do  not  understand  those  languages  sufficiently  well. 
Historia  Patriarchantm  Alexandrinorwn,  ed.  Seybold,  Beirut,  1904., 
p.  6.  The  Coptic  popular  poetry  of  the  10th  century  A.D.,  known  to 
us,  is  purely  ecclesiastical.  [4]  Abu  Salih,  ed.  Evetts,  fol,  286.  from 
the  Fadail  Misr  of  Kindi,  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  1,24  et  sqq. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  55 

As  State-Officers  these  Copts  did  their  work  so  effect- 
ively that  most  of  the  Christian  disturbances  of  Egypt 
might  be  put  down  to  their  credit. 

About  the  middle  of  the  4/10th  century  a  successful 
military  operation  of  the  Byzantines  found  its  echo  in 
Egypt.  When  in  the  year  389/960  Syria  was  devastated 
by  the  Byzantines,  a  disturbance  which  broke  out  in  tho 
old  mosque  of  Cairo  after  the  Friday  prayer  culminated  in 
the  destruction  of  two  churches7.  And  when,  in  the  foll- 
owing year,  the  Emperor  Nicephorus  won  back  Crete  for 
the  Christians,  the  so-called  Imperial  church  of  St.  Michael 
at  Cairo  was  plundered.  It  remained  closed  for  a  long 
time,  the  doors  having  been  blocked  with  earth*. 

The  first  Fatimids  showed  to  the  protected  sujects  a 
toleration  amazing  in  sectarian  chiefs  such  as  they  were. 
They  had  Jewish  physicians  who  were  not  required  to  ac- 
cept Islam7.  At  the  court  of  Muizz  nothing  could  be 
done  without  the  help  of  some  Jew  or  other.  The  cun- 
ning renegade  Ibn  Killis  knew  this  and  thus  largely  de- 
pended for  support  on  his  former  brethren  in  faith*.  The 
rationalistic  tendency  of  the  Ismailites  made  public  dis- 
putations between  Muslims  and  Christians  possible  for 
the  first  time  in  Islam7.  Under  Aziz  the  friendly  attitude 
of  the  court  towards  Christians  grew.  He  had,  indeed, 
relations  among  the  Christian  clergy  ;  of  these  Aristes 
became  the  Archbishop  of  Misr,  The  Caliph,  indeed, 
had  great  regard  for  the  Christians  in  general. 

No  idle  song  did  the  poet  sing  when  he  sang :  "Be- 
come Christian,  for  Christianity  is  the  true  religion! 
Oar  time  proves  it  so.  Worry  not  about  anything  else  : 
Yaqub,  the  Wazir,  is  the  Father;  Aziz,  the  Son,  and  Fadl, 
the  Holy-Ghost."  When  the  people  asked  for  the  punish- 
ment of  the  poet,  the  Caliph'  begged  Ya'qub  and  Fadl  to 
forgive  the  author6.  Later  this  very  Caliph  made  the 
Christian  Isa,  son  of  Nestorius,  his  Wazir  and  appoint- 
ed Manassah,  the  Jew,  his  representative  in  Syria. 
This  was  too  much.  The  people  clamoured  for  the  re- 
moval of  them  both  and  the  Caliph  acquiesced  in  their 


[1]  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  92.  a.  [2]  Yahya,  fol.  926.  Graetz,  [8]  Gescli 
der  Juden,  V.  4th  Ed.  p.  266.  [4]  de  Goeje,  Z.  D.  M.  G.  52,  77.  Accord- 
ing  to  Ibn  al-Jauzi  [Bodl.  Uri  670  year  380]  [See  Lane-Poole's  Egypt. 
Tr.]  [5]  Guyard,  Grand  Maitre  des  Assassins,  p.  14.  [Long  before  the 
Ismailites  public  disputations  were  held  between  Christians  and  Mus- 
lims, See  Khuda  Bukhsh,  Studies  ;  Indian  and  Islamic,  p.  58  TrJ. 
[6]  Ibn  al-Athir  IX,  82, 


56  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

demand'.     Under  this  Christian   Wazir  there  was  an  at- 
tack upon  the  Christians. 

Disqnietened  by  the  conquests  of  the  Emperor  Basil 
in  Syria,  the  Egyptian  Caliph  fitted  out  a  fleet  in  the  year 
386/996  which  was  burnt  down  in  the  dock-yard.  The 
people  suspected  the  Greek  merchants  and  killed  160  of 
iheiru  From  the  Greeks  the  attack  passed  on  to  the  native 
Christians.  Churches  were  plundered  and  the  Nestorian 
bishop  fatally  wounded.  The  Waxir,  however,  restored 
order.  Sixty-three  offenders  were  seized.  Every  one  of 
these  had  to  draw  a  lot  from  under  a  piece  of  cloth.  On 
one  was  written  'Thou  wilt  be  killed'  ;  on  another  'Thou 
wilt  be  whipped'  ;  and  on  the  third  'Thou  wilt  be  set  free.' 
And  thus  everyone  was  dealt  with  according  to  the  lot 
he  drew3. 

Tn  the  year  393/1003  the  fanaticism  of  al-Hakim  began 
to  burst  into  flame*'.  Noticing  the  Caliph's  attitude,  the 
people  took  to  destroying  churches  and  the  Caliph  to 
replacing  them  by  mosques.  Among  such  mosques  was 
the  famous  al-Azhar.  But  this  was  not  all.  The  old 
regulation  regarding  'dress'  was  now  renewed  and  rein- 
forced. The  Christians,  moreover,  had  to  carry  heavy 
wooden  crosses  round  their  necks  ;  public  festivals  and 
ringing  of  bells  were  proscribed  ;  the  crosses  outside  the 
churches  were  broken  down  and  their  traces  effaced. 
Famous  churches  such  as  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre 
at  Jerusalem  and  the  great  cloister  of  al-Qosair,  on  the 
Moqatta  mountain  chains,  were  destroyed.  Even  the 
graves  in  the  great  cemetery  were  violated.  This  Hakim 
never  intended  or  wished  to  be  done  and  he  stopped  it  as 
soon  as  he  heard  of  it.  Despite  all  this,  the  Claiph  ap- 
pointed the  Christian  Mansur  ibn  Sadun  his  Wazir  that 
very  year  and  throughout  this  period  employed  Christian 
physicians.  A  list  of  capable  Muslims  eligible  for  the 

lir  Ibid>  IX,  81. 

[2)  Yahya,  fol.  113a  ;   Maqrizi,  Khitat,  1,195,.    The  judgment   really 
was  not  meant  to  be  carried    out,    for    the    author  adds    that  the    con* 
demned  one  was  taken  through  the  town  with  the  head  of  a  murdered 
man  tied  round  his  neck,     No  other  instance  of  this   kind   is  reported 
from  the  4/10th  century. 

(3)  The  history  of  al-Hakim   is  most  exhaustively  told  by  de  Sacy 
in  his    Expose  de    la  religion    des    Druzes    p.    COLXXVIII    et.    sqq. 
Only,   de  Sacy  has  not  used  the  continuation  of  Eutychius  by  Yahya 
ibn   Sa'id,  a  contemporary  of  al-Hakim  and  a  sober  and  trustworthy 
reporter.      It  is  only  from  his   work  that  the  chronological  sequence  of 
events  can  be  accurately  fixed  for  the  first  time.    The    account    of    the 
other  contemporary,  Bishop  Severus,  is  naore  a  pioup  legenc), 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  57 

post  of  clerks  was  ordered  to  be  made  with  a  view  to  ap- 
pointing them  instead  of  Christians  ;  for  hithereto  all 
clerks,  officers,  physicians  of  his  empire,  without  excep- 
tion, were  Christians.  On  Thursday,  the  12th  of  Rabi 
II  of  403/1012,  clerks,  tax-gatherers,  physicians  with  the 
bishops  and  priests  met  together  and  walked  weeping, 
bare-headed  and  bare-footed,  to  the  Palace  and,  on  reach- 
ing it,  kissed  the  ground  before  it.  Al-Hakim  sent  an 
officer  to  receive  the  petition  and  gave  a  gracious  answer. 
On  the  Sunday  following,  the  15th  of  Rabi  JI,  there  caine 
forth  an  order  that  the  cross  round  the  necks  of  Christians 
should  be  much  heavier,  its  arms  were  to  be  two  feet  long 
and  a  finger's  breadth  its  thickness.  The  Jews  too  were 
ordered  to  wear  balls,  five  pounds  in  weight,  round  their 
necks  in  commemoration  of  the  calf's  head  which  they 
were  supposed  to  have  worshipped. 

Many  distinguished  Christian  officers  accepted  Islam. 
Others  followed  suit  with  the  result  thai  for  many  a  day 
together  no  Christian  was  seen  in  the  streets.  Many, 
indeed,  only  pretended  to  be  Muslims,  such  as  Muhass 
ibn  BadiiR  who  was  killed  in  415/1024  when  Finance 
Minsiter.  They  found  his  corpse  uncircumcised  although 
he  had  sent  for  the  man  to  perform  the  operation /. 

On  the  contrary,  in  the  Provinces  most  of  the  Christ- 
ians and  Jews  retained  their  respective  religion.  Many 
thousands  of  churches  and  cloisters  were  destroyed  and 
the  Christians  had  actually  to  pay  for  their  destruction. 
Of  the  cloisters  in  Egypt  only  two  were  spared,  at  Alex- 
andria. The  Sinai  cloister  surrendered  all  its  treasures, 
and  apart  from  heavy  payments,  owed  its  salvation  to  the 
impossibility  of  destroying  its  massive  masonry  walls2. 

Later,  when  the  incense  of  the  newly  preached  religion 
of  the  Druses  reached  the  Caliph's  nostrils,  and  he  strove 
to  set  it  in  competition  with. the  old  Islam,  the  religions 
of  the  protected  subjects  ceased  to  provoke  his  anger. 
When  in  the  yeai  419/1019  it  was  reported  that  the 
Christians  had  assembled  in  their  houses  to  celebrate  the 
Lord's  Supper  and  even  those  of  them  that  had  accepted 
Islam  had  taken  part  in  it  he  did  not  worry  about  it. 
The  very  same  year  he  restored  the  endowments  to  the 
Sinai  cloister  and  rebuilt  the  cloister  of  al-Qosair*. 

Under  his  successors  things  wrent  back  to  earlier 
practices.  Christians  were  again  allowed  to  conduct 


[1]  Al-Muhasibi  [d.  420/1029]  apud  Becker,  Beitrage  zur  Gesclnchte 
Aegyptens,  1,61.    [2]    Yahya,  fol.  122.      [3]  Yahya,  fol.  131a. 


68  THE  BEtiAtSSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

public  processions.  The  only  thing  that  reminded  the 
people  of  the  mad  Caliph  was  the  black  turban  and  the 
black  girdle  which  most  of  the  Copts  have  ever  since  worn. 

Already  in  the  year  415/1024  the  Coptic  Feast  of  the 
Epiphany  was  celebrated  with  the  old  splendour  and 
under  the  patronage  of  the  Caliph  himself.  From  436- 
439/1044-1047  a  converted  Jew  was  the  Wazir  in  Cairo, 
and  under  him  the  Persian  Jews  Abu  Sa'd  and  at-Tustari 
administered  the  State7. 

Thus  did  a  poet  sing  : 

"  Today  the  Jews  have  reached  the  summit  of  their 
hopes  and  have  become  aristocrats. 

"  Power  and  riches  have  they  and  from  among  them 
are  Councillors  and  princes  chosen. 

"  Egyptians,  I  advise  yon,  become  Jews,  for  the  very 
sky  has  become  Jewish3!" 

(i)  Yahya,  fol.  1336.  The  regulation  regarding  dress  must  have 
boon  roue  wed  from  ii  me  to  time.  Thus  under  the  Qalaunid  al-Nasir  in 
8/14th  century  the  Christians  were  directed  to  wear  blue,  the  Jews 
yellow,  and  the  Samaritans  red  head-bands.  The  Samaritans,  even  to 
this  day,  in  Palestine,  wear  a  rod  hat-band.  (2)  Suyuti, 

Uusuul-Miihadharah.  II,   129. 


V.     SHT'AH. 

In  the  4th/10  Century  the  oldest  counterpart  of  the 
official  Caliphate,  Kharijism,  had  lost  its  importance7. 
As  small  theological  Separatists,  Kharijis  were  found 
scattered  over  the  centre  of  the  Empire.  At  the  beginning 
of  the  century  they  caused  in  Eastern  Mesopotamia  a 
few  disturbances.2  Only  on  the  frontiers  they  still 
maintained  their  strength, — right  back  in  Afghanistan <?,  and 
in  the  West  where  the  Berbers  on  either  side  of  the  Straits 
of  Gibraltar  cast  in  their  lot  with  them4. 

The  Mahdite  Shi'ahs,  the  Karmathians  and  the  Fati- 
mids,  however,  continued  the  Kharijite  struggle  against 
the  CaHphate,  an  indication  that  the  old  Islamic  regime 
was  at  an  end.  The  revival  of  the  essentially  old  oriental 
ideas  in  Shia'ism  at  the  expense  of  Islam  constitutes  the 
distinguishing  feautre  of  the  spiritual  movements  of  the 
4th/10th  century.  Wellhausen's  researches  have  shown 
that  Shia'ism  was  not,  as  it  was  formerly  believed  to  be, 
a  reaction  of  the  Iranian  spirit  against  Islam5.  Of  this 
view  the  geographical  expansion  of  the  sect  in  the  4th 
century  affords  strong  confirmation.  Already  at  the  end 
of  this  century  KhaVarizimi  called  Babylonia  the  classic 
soil  of  Shia'ism6  and  Kufa,  *  with  the  grave  of  'AH,  its 
head-quarters. 

"  He  who    craves  the  martyr's  crown  need  only  go  to  the 
Dar-al-bittish  at   Kufa  and  say:  May  God  have  Mercy  on 

(1)  For  Kharijism,  See  Brunnow's  Monograph  translated  by  Khuda 
Bukhsh  under  the  title  of  Kharijites  Under  The  First  Omayyads,  Muslim 
Keview,  1927.  Tr.  (2)  Masudi,  V.  320.  (3)  Muq.,  323.  (4)  Gold- 
ziher.  They  were  Ibadites,  specially  Makkarites,  Z.  D.  M.  G.  41, 
31  Sqq.  The  Eastern  section  adhered  to  the  stricter  Sufrite  views. 
About  400/1,000  all  other  parties  of  the  Kharijites  had  died  out.  To-day 
the  Arabs  of  Oman  and  the  countries  in  East  Africa,  under  their  sphere 
of  influence,  are  the  only  important  remnants  of  the  Kharijites, 

(5)  Oppositionsparteien,  91.    (6)    Rasail,  ed.    Constant.,  49. 


60  THE  RENAISSANCE  0$  ISLAM 

'Ottoman  TJbn  'Affan.1" 

In  the  course  of  the  4th/10th  century  the  new  teaching 
laid  its  hold  upon  Kufa's  old  rival  city,  the  city  of  Basra. 
It  was  said  of  the  latter  in  the  3rd/9th  Century  :  c  Basra 
is  for  Ottoman;  Kufa  for  AH'*,  where  Suli  (d.  330/942) 
took  shelter  when  persecuted  for  a  declaration  in  favour 
of  Ali<?.  Already  in  the  5th/ J  2th  century  Basra  had  no 
less*  than  thirteen  places  of  worship  dedicated  to  the 
memory  of  'Ali.  There,  even  in  the  great  mosque,  a 
relic  of  Ali  was  exhibited :  a  piece  of  wood  60  feet  in  length, 
5  spans  in  breadth  and  four  inches  thick  which  he  is  said 
to  have  brought  from  India5. 

From  the  earliest  times  Syria,  indeed,  had  been  an 
unfavourable  soil  for  the  Al;d  propaganda.  Even  at  the 
beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century  Nasa'i  was  trampled 
te  death  in  the  mosque  at  Damascus  for  not  citing  any 
tradition  of  the  Prophet  in  praise  of  Muawiya  and  lor  giving 
Ali  precedence  over  him6.  I  do  not  know  how,  but  only 
in  Tiberias  Slii'ahs  were  found  ;  half  of  Nablus  and  Kades 
as  also  the  major  portion  of  Trans jordania  were  Shi'ite7. 
Despite  the  Fatimid  rule  this  sect  made  no  appreciable 
advance.  That  Nasir-i  Khusru  found  Tripoli  in  the  year 
428/1037  Shi'ite*  is  explained  by  the  fact  that  the 
Bann  Ammar  there,  one  of  the  many  small  frontier 
dynasties,  were  Shi'ites  and,  apparently,  put  into  practice 
the  barbarous  principle  Cujus  regio,  ejus  religio  ;  a  principle 
which  never  found  favour  in  Islam,  much  less  legal  accept- 
ance. With  the  exception  of  the  towns,  Arabia  was 
positively  Shi'ite,  and  even  among  the  towns  Oman,  Hajar, 
and  Sa'dah  were  predominantly  Shi'ite".  In  the  Province 
of  Khuzistan,  lying  next  to  Babylonia,  Ahwaz,  the  capital, 
at  least  \vas  half  Shi'ite,  and  in  Persia,  it  was  only  near 
the  coast-tracts,  lying  close  to  Babylonia  and  in  intimate 
touch  with  Shi'ite  Arabia  that  Shia'i'sm  found  its  adhe- 
rents70. 

In  the  entire  East,  however,  the  Sunnah  absolutely 
reigned  supreme ;  only  the  inhabitants  of  Qumm  were 
extreme  Shi'ites'  who  had  separated  from  the  Com- 
munity", and  avoided  the  mosque  until  Rukn-ud-Dawlah 

(1)  Tarikh  Baghdad,  Paris,  fol.  14b.  Only  the  suburb  of  Kunash  was 
Snimite.  (2)  Jahiz,  opuxcnla,  9.  (3)  Muq.,  126.  (4)  Nasir-i  Khusru 
87.  (5)  Nasir-i-Khusru.  (6)  Muq.,  179.  (7)  Ibn  Khali.,  Wustenfeld 
1,37,  Subki,  Tabaqat  II,  84.  (8)  p.  42.  (9)  Muq.,  96.  (10)  Muq.,  415, 
(11)  Muq.,  395.  A  Shi'ite  woman  from  Qumm  represents  S*ia'ism 
in  a  poem  in  Yatimah,  IV,  135.  The  Shi'ites  also,  dominated  in  the 
small  Quhastanian  town  of  Raqqah  (Muq.,  323).  Already  in  the  3rd 
century  the  Qummites  paid  30,000  dirhams  for  a  linen  sleeve  of  an 
's  coat, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  61 

compelled  them  to  attend  *  service  there.  The  fact  that 
Qutom  was  once  occupied  by  the  partisans  of  the  rebel 
Ibn  Al-Ash'ath  accounts  for  this  curious  position  of  affairs 
there.  In  Kufa  Ibn  Al-Ash'ath's  son  was  brought  up.  The 
Sunnites  made  fun  of  the  fanaticism  of  the  Qummites. 
Once  a  zealous  Sunnite  was  appointed  Governor  over 
them.  He  heard  that  by  reason  of  their  hatred  to  the 
Companions  of  the  Prophet  no  one  named  Abu  Bakr  or 
Omar  could  be  found  there.  Lo!  he  summoned  the  peoplo 
one  day  and  thus  spoke  to  their  chief  :'I  swear  oy  the 
Mighty  God  that  unless  you  produce  before  me  a  man 
among  you  named  Abu  Bakr  or  Omar  I  will  deal  severely 
with  you.  They  asked  for  three  days'  time.  They  zealously 
ransacked  the  town  and  spared  themselves  no  pains.  At 
last  they  found  one  bearing  the  name  of  Aba  Bakr,  a  poor 
wretch,  barefooted,  naked,  squint-eyed,  the  most  hideous  of 
God's  creatures.  His  father  was  a  foreigner  who  had 
settled  down  at  Qumin,  and  hence  the  name.  When  they 
appeared  before  the  Governor  with  him,  he  reprimanded 
them.  You  bring  the  most  hideous  of  God's  creatures,  said 
he,  to  me  and  thus  trifle  with  me.  And  forthwith  he 
ordered  them  to  be  beaten.  Thereupon  a  wit  among  them 
thus  addressed  the  Governor  :  "  Do  what  you  please,  Amir, 
but  the  air  of  Qumm  will  not  produce  an  Abu  Bakr  of 
more  comely  appearance  than  the  one  before  you."  Th6 
Governor  laughed  and  pardoned  them7. 

At  Qumm  the  fanatical  party  of  the  Ghurabiyyalr 
were  powerful.  In  honour  of  Fatima,  daughters  inherited, 
to  the  exclusion  of  sons,  among  them''.  In  the  year 
201/816  another  Fatima,  daughter  of  the  eighth  Imam, 
al-Ridha,  was  buried  there.  Thus  Qumm,  next  to  Meshed, 
is  the  most  coveted  burial  place  of  the  Persians.  Isfahan* 
on  the  contrary,  was  still,  when  Muqaddasi  passed 
through  it,  so  fanatically'  prepossessed  in  favour  of  Mua- 
wiya  that  he  almost  came  to  grief  there.  It  \vas  the  very 
reverse  of  Qarnm.  In  the  year  345/956  there  was  a  great 
uproar  at  Isfahan  because  a  member  of  the  garrison,  a 
Qummite,  had  insulted  a  name  held  sacred  by  the  Sunnites. 
People  attacked  each  other  and  fell,  and  shops  of  the 
Qummite  merchants  settled  there  were  looted5.  Towards 
the  end  of  the  century  Hamadani  ascribes  the  decay  of 
Nisabur  and  the  misfortune  of  the  Province  of  Quhistan 
to  the  diffusion  of  the  Shi'ite  doctrines  there,  At  Herat 

(1)  Yaqut,  IV,  176.  (2)  On  Ghurabiyyah,  see  Friedlander,  On  the 
Heterodoxies  of  the  Shi'ites ;  pp.  56  Sqq.  Tr.  (3)  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II, 
194.  (4)  Muq.,  p.  399.  (5)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  388. 


62  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

one  already  heard  a  boy  say  at  the  market-place  that 
Mohamed  and  'Ali  cursed  the  Taim,  to  whom  Abu  Bakr, 
and  the  Adi,  to  whom  'Omar'  belonged1. 

So  far  indeed  ShiVism  had  not  conquered  the  lands 
which  it  owns  to-day,  but  it  was  well  on  the  way  towards 
that  consummation.  Even  persecutoin  helped  its  cause 
forward.  Theologically  the  Shia's  are  the  heirs  of  the 
Mut'azilahs  whose  lack  of  tradition-mindedness  was  parti- 
cularly helpful  to  them.  In  the  4th/10th  century  there 
was  actually  no  real  system  of  Shi'ite  theology.  The 
Shi'ite  Amir  'Adad-ud-Daulah  merely  adapted  himself 
to  the  veivvB  of  the  Mut'azalites.  Only  the  Fatimids 
had  a  regular  Shi'ite  system  which,  as  Mnqaddasi  expressly 
points  out,  agreed  in  many  points  with  the  Mut'azalites*. 
Except  on  the  question  of  Imamat,  on  all  fundamental 
doctrines  the  Zaidites  are  in  perfect  agreement  with  the 
Mut'azalites1.  Moreover,  an  edict  of  the  Caliph,  dated 
408/1017,  assumes  close  connexion  between  the  Shi'ites 
and  the  Mut'azalitas.  Among  other  things  it  forbids  the 
Shi'ite  doctrine  of  Jlifd  to  the  Mut'azalites/' 

The  method  of  Ibn  Babuyah  al-Qummi,  chief  exponent 
of  the  Shi'ite  learning  in  the  4th /10th  century,  in  his 
Kital)-al-ilal,  recalls  to  our  mind  that  of  the  Mut'azalites, 
who  claimed  absolute  omniscience  for  themselves.  Like 
Mut'azalisra,  Shia'ism  possessed  ample  scope  for  all  manner 
of  heresies.  Already  the  Shi'ite  leader  Tbn  Muawiya 
(2nd/8th  century)  gathered  round  him  heretics  of  all  shades 
of  opinion.  One  of  these  was  later  executed  for  denying 
the  resurrection  and  maintaining  that  human  beings  were 
not  unlike  vegetables5.  In  the  year  341/952  Muizz-ad- 
Daulah  set  at  liberty  some  preachers  of  the  doctrine  of 
the  transmigration  of  the  soul.  Of  these  one  asserted 
that  he  harboured  the  spirit  of  *Ali ;  another  the  spirit  of 
Fatima  and  the  third  the  spirit  of  the  angel  Gabriel6. 
These  doctrines,  notably  those  of  rebirth  and  the  trans- 
migration of  souls,  are  found  alike  in  Shia'ism,  Mut'azalism 
and  Sufiism.  Their  common  source  is  the  Christian 
Gnosis7.  In  Babylonia,  about  300/900,  we  encounter  the 
view  that  'All  was  a  second  Christ.  In  420/1029  the  Shi'ite 
preacher  at  Baghdad  prayed  first  for  the  Prophet,  and  then 

(1)  Rasail,  424  sqq.  Ibn  Haukal,  268.  (2)  Ahmed  ibn  Yahaya, 
ed.  Arnold,  p.  5.  (3)  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  II.  352.  (4)  Ibn  al  Jauzi,  166b. 
(5)  Wellhansen,  Oppositionsparteien,  99.  (6)  Abul  Mahasin,  II,  338. 
(7)  It  is  not  necessary  to  ascribe  the  specific  idea  of  the  Messiah  to 
the  South  Arabian  Jews  who  are  set  down  as  the  authors  of  this 
doctrine.  PriefQander  Z.A.  23  24. 


liEtiAlSSANCti  OF  ISLAM  63 

for  'Ali  who  had  'conversed  with  a  skull  ;'  a  story  based 
upon  the  legend  of  Christ  having  brought  the  dead  back 
to  life.  In  Islam  for  long  continued  the  idea  that  Christ 
was  at  once  human  and  divine*.  Many  of  the  pathetic 
incidents  of  Passioii  Friday  are  introduced  into  the  'Ashura 
feast.  Qummi  (d.  355/966)  states  :  Every  time  a  man  sees 
the  heaven  red  like  fresh  blood  or  the  sun  on  the  wall  like 
a  red  mantle  he  is  to  recall  the  death  of  Husain.  Fatima 
upon  the  same  analogy  became  the  'Blessed  Virgin/ 
(Bafulf.  And  finally  these  were  Shi'ites  who  taught 
that  Husain  was  not  really  killed  but,  like  Jesus,  appeared 
so  to  men3.  Possibly  even  the  dress  of  the  Shi'ahs  has 
some  connexion  with  the  white  vesture  of  the  Gnostic 
sect.  Originally  the  Shi'ahs  too  wore  a  white  dress. 
'White  dress  and  black  heart,'  tauntingly  exclaims 
Ibn  Sakkarah.  One  of  their  cranks  wore  a  black  dress, 
saying  that  the  heart  only  need  be  white*.  The  Kar- 
uiathians  had  white  banners.  The  Fatimid  Caliphs  and 
preachers  wore  white  dresses7.  The  green  colour,  the 
distinguishing  token  of  the  Alids  to-day,  was  decreed  by 
the  Egyptian  Sultan  Shabaii  ibn  Husain  (d.  778/1376)°'. 

The  only  new  feature  of  the  Slii'ite  theology  of  that 
time  was  the  attempt  to  shape  traditions  to  suit  'Ali  and 
his'  house7.  This  naturally  provoked  the  hearty  con- 
tempt of  the  Sunnite  savants.  Someone,  about  the  year 
300/912,  cited  a  tradition  of  the  Prophet  upon  the  author- 
ity of  'Ali  and  his  family.  What  kind  of  a  chain  of  tra- 
dition is  that  ?  contemptuously  questioned  Ibn  Raha- 
waihi.  Both  parties  freely  invented  traditions  and  such, 
indeed,  had  been  conspicuously  the  case  since  the  earli- 
est times.  Already  Ibn  Ishaq,  the  biographer  of  the 
Prophet,  is  said  to  have  interspersed  his  book  with  Shi'ite 
poems.  On  the  other  hand  Urwanah  (d,  147/764)  forged 
stories  favourable  to  Muawiya  which  have  found  a  place 
in  the  historical  work  <?f  Madaini*.  And  if  a  poet9 
about  the  year  300/900  ascribes  the  learned  fables  of  the 
Shi'ahs^ to  their  lack  of  traditions,  Muqaddasi,  at  the  cheif 

[1]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  178  a.  [2]  Qummi,  Berlin,  Kit.  al- Hal,  fol.  77b. 
Fatitna  is  called  so  because  she  never  had  her  period.  [3]  al-Qummi,  Kit. 
al-Ilal,  Berlin,  fol.  I35a.  [4]  Yat.,  II.  206.  [5]  Al-Qummi,  Kit.  al-Ilal t 
Berlin,  fol.  131a.  Ali  Dede  (Kit  al-Awail  Wai  Awakhir)  cites  poetical 
quotations  in  proof  of  this  fact.  In  204:  from  Khorasan  Mamun  entered 
Baghdad  wearing  .green  dress  and  carrying  green  banners  [Ibn  Tafur,  ed. 
Keller,  fol.  2a.]  Green  banners  floated  on  the  occasion  of  the  Nanbahar  at 
Balkh  [Mas,  IV,  43].  Perhaps  this  was  the  distinctive  colour  of  Khora- 
san. [6]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  35a.  [7]  E.  g.  Nasir-i-Khusru,  p.  48  ; 
Abul  Mahasin,  II,  408.  [8]  Goldziher  in  Kultur  der  Qegenwart;  Wuz., 
170;  Irshad,  VI,  400,  94.  [9]  Mas'udi,  VIII,  374. 


64  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

mosque  at  Wasit,  hears  a  saying  of  the  Prophet  set  in 
proper  theological  form  :  God  on  the  Day  of  Eesurrection 
will  seat  Muawiya  by  his  side,  perfume  him  with  His 
own  hand  and  then  present  the  creation  as  a  bride  to  him. 
I  asked  why,  says  Muqaddisi.  The  lecturer  replied  : 
Because  he  fought  'AH.  I  called  out  :  You  have  lied, 
you  faJse  believer.  Whereupon  said  the  lecturer  :  Seize 
this  Shi'ah  !  The  people  rushed  upon  me  but  an  officer, 
recognising  me,  drove  them  away7.  At  Isfahan  the 
same  traveller  had  to  combat  the  statement  of  a  spiritual 
chief  that  Muawiya  was  a  Prophet  and,  in  doing  so,  once 
more  ran  into  danger*.  But  in  truth  *Ali  was  no  more 
the  apple  of  discord  at  the  time  of  Muqaddasi.  Long 
past  were  the  days  when  an  Abbasid  Caliph,  like  al-Muta- 
wakkil,  associated  only  with  those  that  hated  'Ali.  Of 
these  one  used  to  insert  a  cushion  inside  his  dress,  uncover 
his  bald  head,  dance  and  sing  :  Here  comes  the  .  bald, 
big  bellied  Caliph,  /.£.,  'All*.  On  the  whole  the  Sunnites 
treated  'AH  with  great  courtesy  and  consideration''. 
They  wrere  anything  but  hostile  to  him.  Hamadani 
(d.  31)8/1008),  who  has  some  very  harsh  things  to  say 
against  the  Shi'ites  and  who  defends  'Omar  against  the 
vituperations  of  the  Khawarizimi,5  has  himself  composed 
a  sort  of  elegy  on  'AH  and  Husain0'. 

The  wild  cursing  of  the  first  three  Caliphs  such  as  was 
indulged  in  by  the  Shi'ites,  was  most  abhorrent  to  the 
Sunnites.  In  402/1011  there  died  at  Baghdad  a  Sunnite 
savant  who  had  heard  at  Karkh,  the  Shi'ite  quarter  of  the 
town,  the  Companions  of  the  Prophet  reviled  and  abused. 
He  vowed  that  never  would  he  set  his  foot  there  again, 
and  never  indeed  did  he  go  beyond  the  Qantarah  al-Serat7. 
When  a  Shi'ite  was  punished  as  such,  the  judgment  never 
referred  to  'AH,  the  reason  stated  always  being :  He  has 
slandered  Abu  Bakr  and  <0mars. 

When  in  351/962  Muizz-ad-Daulah  adorned  the  mosques 
of  Baghdad  with  the  usual  Shi'ite  inscriptions  of  curses 
and  imprecations  and  when  these  were  blotted  out  over- 
night, his  clever  Wazir  el-Muhallabi  counselled  him  to 
let  Muawiya' s  name  alone  remain  in  the  new  inscriptions 


[1]  p.  120.  Through  a  spirit  of  sheer  opposition  Muawiya  was 
made  into  a  saint  ;  ''Even  today  [in  the  year  332]  M's.  grave,  at  the 
small  gate  at  Damascus,  is  an  object  of  Pilgrimage.  A  house  is  built 
upon  it  and  every  Monday  and  Thursday  it  is  decorated"  [Mas.,  V.  14] 
[2]  p.  399  Ihn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  60b  ;  Abulfeda  Annalcs,  year  236 
[3]  Sarasin,  Das  Bild  'Alics  bci  dem  Historikcrn  der  Sunnali.  [4]  Ras&'il 
424  ff.  [5]  Diivan,  Paris,  pp.  90  ff.  [6]  Baza'il,  58.  [7]  Ibn  -  al-Janzi 
fol.  29b.  [8]  Abulfeda,  year  351. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  65 

omitting  those  of  the  others'.  Many  Alids  had  made 
their  way  to  Egypt  which  was  but  rarely  connected  by  a 
firm  bond  with  the  throne  of  Baghdad.  In  236/850  the 
Caliph  al-Mutawakkil,  who  had  interned  the  Arab  Alids 
at  Samarra,  caused  the  Egyptian  branch  of  the  family 
to  be  collected  and  sent  to  Iraq,  each  male  obtaining  30 
dinars  and  each  female  15  dinars  from  the  Governor. 
Thence  they  were  banished  to  Medina2.  Many  Alids 
managed,  however,  to  evade  this  measure  and  soon  after 
rebelled,  with  the  result  that  the  successor  of  Mutawakkil 
was  constrained  to  write  to  Egypt  that  no  Alid  was  to 
have  any  land  in  fief  or  to  be  permitted  to  use  a  horse  or 
to  leave  the  capital  or  to  own  more  than  one  slave.  In 
case  of  a  law  suit,  it  was  further  ordained,  he  was  dis- 
qualified as  a  witness'9.  No  wonder  then  that,  in  the 
fifties,  Egypt  witnessed  one  Alid  insurrection  after  another. 
In  the  4th/10th  century  the  Shi'ite  unrest  manifests  itself 
in  Egypt  and  the  cause  of  the  Alid  nobles  becomes  the 
cause  of  the  Shi'ites.  On  the  Ashura  Day  of  the  year 
350/961  feelings  became  so  strained  that  an  actual  fight 
took  place  between  the  Shi'ahs  and  the  Sunnite  military, 
consisting  mostly  of  Sudanese  and  Turks.  Of  every  one 
the  soldiers  enquired  :  Who  is  thy  uncle  ?  and  attacked 
every  one  who  did  not  answer:  "  Muawiya"*.  One 
of  the  excited  Sudanese  roamed  about  the  streets  shouting : 
'Muawiya  is  the  uncle  of  cAli' — a  saying  which  became  the 
anti-Shi'ite  war-cry  of  the  Egyptians.  The  Government 
maintained  order  as  best  it  could.  In  the  year  353/964, 
however,  a  well-known  Shi'ah  was  scourged  and  detained 
in  custody,  where  he  died. 

Over  his  gra\e  a  fight  took  place  between  the  troops 
and  his  supporters.  But  when  with  Gawher5  power 
passed  to  the  Shi'ites,  upon  the  slightest  provocation  the 
people  raised  the  anti-Shi'ite  cry  :  'Muawiya  is  the  uncle 
of  (Ali'  !  For  instance  when  in  361/972  a  blind  woman, 
who  used  to  go  about  reciting  in  the  streets,  was  impri- 
soned, a  crowd  forthwith  began  invoking  the  names  of 
the  Companions  of  the  Prophet  odious  to  the  Shi'ahs  and 
calling  out  :  'Muawiya  is  the  uncle  of  the  faithful  and  of 
'Ali.'  The  Governor  gave  in,  announced  in  the  mosque 

[1]  Aghani,  XIX,  141.  [2]  Kindi,  198.  [8]  Hindi,  204.  [4]  This 
seems  to  have  been  a  common  Sunnite  confession  of  faith.  Nafta- 
waihi  [d.  323]  relates  a  witticism : — They  said  to  a  Shiah :  Thy 
mother's  brother  [khal]  is  Muawiya  I  Upon  which  -he  rejoined.: 
That  I  do  not  know.  My  mother  is  a  Christian  and  that  is  her 
business/  [Yaqut,  Irshad  1,  313.] 

[5]    Lane-Poole,  Egypt,  99  et,  599  Tr, 


66  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

that  the   woman  was  arrested  only  for  her  own  safety  and 

instantly    released  her'.    Even    an     insurrection    of  the 

Sunni  money-changers,   the  most  docile  of  political  ele- 
ments, is  reported*. 

On  the  whole  the  Fatimid  Government  acted  with 
wisdom  and  moderation.  The  only  thing  it  did  was  to 
give  all  good  appointments  of  judges  and  jurists  to  the 
Shi'ahs.  They  even  allowed  the  public  celebration  of  the 
anti-Shi'ite  festival,  started  by  the  Sunnites  in  362/973 
in  commemoration  of  the  day  when  the  Prophet  and  Abu 
Bakr,  taking  shelter  in  the  cave,  evaded  and  escaped  the 
enemy.  Canopies  were  put  up  on  the  streets  and  bonfires 
lighted. 

Here  too  Hakim  constitutes  an  exception.  In  the 
year  393/1002  his  Governor  at  Damascus  had  a  Maghrabite 
taken  round  the  town  on  a  donkey  to  the  place  of  exe- 
cution with  a  crier  proclaiming  in  front  of  him  :  This  is 
the  reward  of  him  who  loves  Abu  Bakr  and  'Omar.  In 
the  year  395/1005  Hakim's  reforming  rage  reached  its 
height.  Along  with  other  things  he  enjoined  curses  on 
Abu  Bakr,  'Othman,  Mauwiya,  etc.,  even  upon  the  Abba- 
sids,  to  be  inscribed  outside  the  mosques,  walls  of  houses 
and  archways.  This  was  most  offensive  to  his  Sunnite 
subjects3.  In  396/1005  he  interdicted  lamentation  and 
recitation  in  streets  on  the  Ashura  day  on  the  pretence 
that  people  stood  before  shops  and  exacted  money.  He 
permitted  lamentations,  however,  in  the  desert*.  In 
399/1099  came  the  usual  reaction  and  Hakim  forbade 
imprecations  of  those  old,  honoured  men  of  Islam5. 
The  Shi'ahs  could  not,  however,  make  much  headway  in 
conversion.  Muqaddasi  found  Shi'ahs  in  the  city  only, 
and  at  one  spot  in  the  Delta0,  In  the  West  the  town  of 
Naftah  on  the  Algerian -Tunis  frontier  acquired  the  repu- 
tation of  being  the  stronghold  of  Shia'ism  and  was  accord- 
ingly named  the  smaller  Kufa7.  The  political  decline 
of  the  Fatimids  caused  an  ebb  in  the  tide  of  Shia'ism. 

In  all  intellectual  movements  Baghdad  signalized 
itself  as  the  real  capital  of  the  Islamic  world,  for  here  all 
sects  and  doctrinal  opinions  found  a  shelter  and  a  home.8 

(1)  Maqrizi,  Ittiaz,  87.  (2)  Maqrizi,  Khiiat,  339  Sqq.  (3)  Ibn 
Tagribardi,  91 ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  126.  According  to  the  former  he 
was  executed  ;  according  to  the  latter  only  banished  from  the  town. 

(4)  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  116a.  In  the  same  year  the  pilgrim- 
caravan  is  said  to  have  been  called  upon  to  revile  the  first  three 
Caliphs.  This  of  course  was  not  done,  but  it  caused  a  great  scandal. 
Maqrizi,  Khitat,  I,  342.  (5)  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  431  ;  Kindi,  supplement, 
600,  (6)  Ibn  Sa  id,  fol.  199a,  (7)  p,  202,  (8)  Bakri  75, 


THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  67 

Bufc  in  the  4th/10th  ceutury  the  two  chief  cainps  there 
were  those  of  the  Hanbalities  and  the  Shi'ites'.  The 
Shi'ites  specially  had  their  supporters  in  the  bazar  quarters 
of  Karkh.  Not  until  the  end  of  the  4th/10th  century  did 
they  extend  beyond  the  great  Bridge  and  occupy  the  quar- 
ter round  the  Bab-al-Taq2.  Towards  the  Western  side  of 
the  town  for  long  they  could  not  spread,  There  the  Hashi 
mids5,  notably  in  the  quarters  near  the  Basra  Gate, 
formed  a  close  community.  They  were  zealous  opponents 
of  the  Shi'ahs.  Even  Yaqut  found  the  Sunnites  there  and 
the  Shi'ites  in  Karkh*.  Despite  the  energetic  perse- 
cutions of  Mutawakkil,  so  powerful  were  the  Shi'ites  in 
Babylon,  about  the  end  of  the  3rd/9th  century,  that  the 
Wazir5  in  284/897  advised  the  Caliph,  who  wanted  the 
Omayyads  publicly  reviled  from  the  pulpits — the  edict 
has  come  down  to  us — that  such  a  measure  would  merely 
benefit  the  Alids,  who  were  scattered  all  over  the  country 
and  found  much  favour  with  the  people6'.  In  313/925 
the  Baratha  Mosque  is  for  the  first  time  mentioned  as 
the  meeting-place  of  the  Baghdad  Shi'ites7.  The  Caliph 
ordered  their  removal,  only  30  persons  were  found  at 
prayer  who  were  compelled  to  hand  over  seals  of  white 
clay  which  were  surreptitiously  distributed  by  Fati- 
mid  emissaries  to  people  with  Shi'ite  leanings*.  The 
mosque  was  eventually  levelled  to  the  ground,  and,  to 
leave  no  trace  behind,  the  land  on  which  it  stood  was 
annexed  to  the  adjacent  grave-yardy.  The  year  321/923 
witnessed  a  significant  event.  The  North-Persian  courtier 
Yalbaq  desired  the  renewal  of  the  imprecations  on  Mua- 
wiya  from  the  pulpits,  but  the  Hanbalites  incited  the 
people  against  it  with  the  result  that  there  was  unrest  and 
excitement1".  In  323/935  it  was  promulgated  that  no 
two  Hanbalites  should  meet  in  the  streets  as  they  always 
stirred  up  strife.  The  Caliph  issued  an  edict  against  these 

(1)  Muq.,  126.  According  to  Muq.,  the  chief  fault  of  the  Hanbali- 
tes was  the  hatred  of  the  Alids.  (2)  Wuz,  37.  (3)  Ibn  al-Athir,  IV, 
146.  (4)  Under  Karkh,  Baghdad  ;  Guy  Le  Strange,  Baghdad,  95,  Tr. 
(5)  Wuz,  483. 

(6)  Tabari,  III,  2164  Sqq. 

(7)  Guy  Le  Strange,  Baghdad,  pp.  95,  154  Tr. 

(8)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,   fol.   29b.     There   were   sharpers  at  Baghdad  who 
lived  by  selling  rosaries  and  clay-plates  to  the  Shi 'aha  which  they  passed 
off  as  coming  from  the  grave  of   Husain  (yat.   III).    The  clay  plates 
are   even    sold    today  (called  Tabaq,  vulgarly  Taboq)  The    Shi'ahs  put 
these  in  front  of  them  when  at  prayer,    so  that  their  brows  may  touch 
them  each  time  they  prostrate  themselves.     (9)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  67a, 
(10)  Misk.  gives  it  in  details,  V.  413 ;  Ibn  al-Athir  mentions  it  briefly, 
VIII,  204  ;  Abul  Mahasin  II,  259. 


68  THE  KENAlSSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

unruly  subjects  and  the  edict  has  come  down  to  ti&/ 
He  reproaches  them  for  regarding  the  Shi'ahs  as  '  unfaith- 
ful ' :  for  attacking  them  in  streets  and  elsewhere ,  for- 
bidding them  to  make  pilgrimage  to  the  graves  of  the 
Imams  ;  and  for  reviling  the  pilgrims  as  heretics,  while 
they  themselves  make  pilgrimage  to  the  grave  of  one  who 
was  of  the  people  without  a  noble  lineage  or  connexion  with 
the  Prophet,  prostrate  themselves  before  his  monument 
and  pray  at  his  grave.  Unless  they  desist  from  their 
wicked  ways  he  will  proceed  against  them  with  fire  and 
sword^.  lii  328/940,  at  the  instance  of  the  Amir 
Begkem,  the  Baratha  Mosque  was  rebuilt  for  the  Sunnites, 
bearing  on  the  porch  the  name  of  the  Caliph  Al-Kadhi. 
His  successor  Al-Muttaqi  had  the  pulpit  of  the  Mansurah 
Mosque  (which  had  hitherto  been  preserved  in  the  treasury 
which  bore  the  namo  of  Harun-al-Rashid)  brought  to 
the  new  mosque,  which  was  consecrated  in  329/941'*. 

The  Hamadanids  were  the  first  Shi'ite  dynasty  to 
meddle  in  tlio  affairs  of  Baghdad.  At  first  this  interfer- 
ence was  of  a  kind  to  draw  upon  them  the  scorn  of  all  the 
world.  The  Shi'ito  Hamadanid  helped  Prince  Ibn  al- 
Mutt'azz,  well-known  for  his  pronounced  anti-ShiMte 
tendencies,  to  the  throne''.  Things  however,  changed 
when,  after  a  short  time,  the  Dailamites,  who  had  been 
converted  to  Islam  by  an  Alid,  became  rulers  of  Baghdad. 
Shortly  after  his  arrival  Mu'izss-ad-Daulah  ignominiously 
deposed  the  Caliph,  assigning  this,  among  other  reasons, 
that  the  Caliph  had  imprisoned  he  chief  of  the  Shi'ites. 
In  349/960  the  Shi'ites  were  able  to  close  their  mosques 
against  the  Sunnites  with  the  result  that  the  latter  had  no 
other  place  of  worship  left  to  them  except  the  Baratha 
Mosque6.  In  351  Mu'izz-ud-Daulah  caused  the  Shi'ites 
inscriptions  to  be  put  upon  the  \valls  of  the  mosques, 
bnt  they  were  removed  by  the  people  at  night.  In  the 
following  year  he  introduced  solemn  wailings  and  lamenta- 
tions for  Husain  on  the  10th  of  Mohan-am,  Ashura  Day, 
the  chief  festival  of  the  Shi'ahs.  The  bazars  were  closed  ; 
the  butchers  suspended  their  business ;  the  cooks  ceased 
cooking ;  the  cisterns  were  emptied  of  their  contents ; 

(1)  Misk V.  '496"eqq.  '  -  "  " 

(2)  Later    some    theological    colouring    was    given    to   tins   edict. 
Abulfeda,  Annales,  year  323. 

(3)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,   fol.   67a ;  Ibn    al-Athir,   IX,   278;  Misk.,  VI,  37 
only  reports  the  completion  of  the  mosque  without  any  details. 

(4)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  13. 

(5)  Misk.,  VI,  123. 

(6)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  397. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  69 

pitchers  were  placed  with  felt  coverings  on  the  streets ; 
women  walked  about  with  fallen  tresses,  blackened  faces, 
torn  dresses,  striking  their  faces  and  wailing  for  Husain. 
Also  pilgrimages  were  made  to  Karbala'.  On  this 
day,  says  Biruni,  common  people  have  an  aversion  to 
renewing  the  vessels  and  utensils  of  the  household3. 
In  the  same  year,  on  the  18th  of  Dhulhijjah,  the  celeb- 
ration of  the  day  of  the  'Pond  of  Khumm'  (the  day  on 
which  the  Prophet  is  said  to  have  nominated  'Ali  as  his 
successor)  was  officially  introduced  at  Baghdad'*.  On 
this  day,  on  the  other  hand,  Mu'izz-ud-Daulah  ordered  the 
usual  accompaniments  of  a  festive  celebration.  Tents 
were  pitched  ;  carpets  were  laid  down  ;  valuable  things 
were  exhibited  ;  with  blowing  of  trumpets  and  beating  of 
drums  a  huge  bonfire  was  lighted  in  front  of  the  office  of  the 
Chief  of  Police.  On  the  following  morning  camels  were 
slaughtered  and  pilgrimages  were  made  to  the  graves  of 
the  Quraishites.  The  Simmies  returned  the  compliment 
by  celebrating  the  day  of  the  death  of  Husain  as  a  day  of 
rejoicing.  They  dressed  themselves  up  on  this  day  in 
new  garments  with  various  kinds  of  ornaments,  and 
painted  their  eyes  with  stibium  ;  they  celebrated  a  feast 
and  gave  banquets  and  parties,  eating  sweetmeats  and 
sprinkling  scent  on  each  other.  Even  traditions  were 
made  to  dwell  upon  the  felicitous  character  of  this  day. 
They  believed  that  one  who  painted  antimony  round  his 
or  her  eyes  on  this  day  would  be  spared  running  eyes 
throughout  the  year*. 

Thus  does  Qummi  (d.  355/966)  frequently  urge  :  He  who 
mourns  on  the  'Ashura  Day  will  be  happy  on  the  Day  of 
Resurrection.  He  who  calls  it  a  day  of  blessing  (yauin 
barakah)  and  gathers  anything  into  his  house  that  day 
will  derive  no  good  from  it.  Such  an  one  will  rise  on  the 


[1]  Wuz.,  483  ;  Ibn  al-JauzUol.  93b  ;  Ibn  al-Athir  VIII,  403,40? ; 
Abul  Mahasin,  II,  364.  Tho  usual  Passion  play  of  modern  titnos  is 
nowhere  mentioned.  Basa'il,  Constant.,  p,  37. 

[2]  Al-Benmi,  [Sachau's  tr.,  p.  326  tr.J  [3]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  95b  ; 
Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  407;  according  to  Abul  Mahasin  [II,  427]  erroneously 
in  the  year  360. 

[4]  Qazwini,  Cosmogr.  I,  68.  Biruni  further  adds  :  Such  was  the 
custom  in  the  nation  during  the  rule  of  the  Banu  Umayya,  and  so  it 
has  remained  also  after  the  downfall  of  this  dynasty  (Chronology 
of  Ancient  Nations,  p.  326).  On  the  Ashura  day  Biruni  [p.  327]  says: 
Some  people  say  that  Ashura  is  an  Arabicised  Hebrew  word,  viz.,  Ashur, 
i.  e.,  the  10th  of  the  Jewish  Month  Tishri,in  which  falls  the  fasting  Kip- 
pur  ;  that  the  date  of  this  fasting  was  compared  with  the  months  of  the 
Arabs,  and  that  it  was  fixed  on  the  10th  of  their  first  month,  as  it, 
with  the  Jews,  falls  on  the  10th  of  their  first  month. 


70  THE  RENAISSANCE  0$  ISLAM 

Day  of  Resurrection  with  Yazid  and  find  his  way  to  the 
lowest  depths  of  Hell/  After  the  fall  of  the  Fatimids 
the  Sunnite  Ayyubids  converted  according  to  the  Syrian 
custom  the  'Ashura  Day,  hitherto  regarded  as  an  official 
day  of  mourning,  into  one  of  rejoicing  and  festivity2. 
The  Sunnites  even  invented  a  direct  counter  celebration. 
Eight  days  after  the  Shi'ite  mourning  for  Husain  they 
mourned,  on  their  part,  for  Mus'ab  ibn  Zubair  and  visited 
his  grave  at  Maskin  on  the  Dujail,  just  as  the  Shi'ites 
visited  the  Kerbala.  And,  indeed,  eight  days  after  the 
1 Feast  of  the  Pond'  the  Sunnites  set  up  a  counter-feast, 
the  celebiation  of  the  day  on  which  the  Prophet  and  Abu 
Bakr  concealed  themselves  in  a  cave.  They  celebrated 
this  feast  in  precisely  the  same  way  as  did  the  Shi'ites  their 
" Feast  of  the  Pond".  On  Friday  the  25th  Dhul  Hijjah, 
389/999  this  celebration  took  place  for  the  first  time3. 
During  these  celebrations  there  was  the  usual  friction  bet- 
ween the  two  parties,  and  some  strong  rulers  therefore 
prohibited  both  these  celebrations7'.  On  one  such  cele- 
bration, even  at  the  residence  of  the  Caliph,  the  cry  was 
heard:  *  Hakim  ya  Mansur',  referring  to  the  hereditary 
enemy  at  Cairo.  This  was  a  trifle  too  much  for  the  Caliph. 
He  sent  his  palace-guards  to  the  help  of  the  Sunnites  and 
the  Alids  came  thereupon  begging  for  pardon  for  the 
insult  so  offered  to  him.  In  420/1029  the  Shi'ite  preacher 
of  the  Baratha  Mosque  was  arrested  for  heretical  teachings. 
In  his  place  a  Sunnite  was  sent,  who  ascended  the  pulpit 
with  a  sword  in  conformity  with  the  Sunnite  and  not  the 
Shi'ite  practice.  The  people  greeted  him  with  a  shower 
pf  bricks.  His  shoulder  and  nose  were  fractured  and  his 
face  was  covered  with  blood.  This  angered  the  Caliph 
and  he  wrote  an  indignant  letter.  In  the  end  the  chief 
of  the  Shi'ahs  apologised  and  appointed  another  in  his 
place  with  necessary  instructions5. 

It  is  significant  of  the  sudden  and  rapid  rise  of  the 
Shi'ahs  in  the  4/10th  century  that  then,  for  the  first  time, 
their  two  great  sanctuaries  were  definitely  located  in 
Babylonia,  Hitherio  there  was  an  uncertainty  about  the 
grave  of  'AH.  Even  in  332/994  Mas'udi  thus  writes: 
"  Some  look  for  the  grave  of  4Ali  in  the  mosque  at  Kufa6, 
others  in  the  citadel  there,  and  yet  others  by  the  side  of 

[1]  Kit.  al-Ilal,  fol.  99b.   [2]  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  1,  490.  [3]  Wnz.,  371 

Ibn  al-Janzi,  Berlin,  fol.  143.  [4]  Thus  by  Maullim  in  382  [Ibn  al-Jauzi, 

fol.  134a]  and  by  Amid  al-Juyush  in  392  and  406  [Wnz.,  482  f;   Ibn 

al-Jauzi,  147b;  Ibn  alAthir,  IX,  184],      [5]     Ibn  al-Jauzi,    fol.    l78a. 

[6]    So  also  Ibn  Haukal,  163. 


THE  KENAIS8ANCE  OF  ISLAM  71 

Fatima's  grave  at  Medina".  According  to  others  the 
camel  which  carried  the  coffin  went  astray  and  'Ali  found 
his  final  resting-place  somewhere  in  the  territory  of  the 
tribe  of  Tai*.  The  Shi'ite  Hamadanid  Abul  Haija 
(d.  317/929)  adorned  the  place  at  Meshed  'AH— which 
today  passes  for  the  grave  of  'Ali,  with  a  huge  domed  mau- 
soleum resting  on  a  number  of  quadrangular  columns, 
with  doors  on  each  side.  The  Wazir  ibn  Sahlan  vowed, 
during  an  illness,  that  should  he  recover  he  would  encircle 
the  mausoleum  with  a  wall,  and  this  vow  he  fulfilled 
in  the  year  401/1041.  The  first  great  man,  to  my  know- 
ledge, buried  there  at  his  request,  was  a  high  officer  from 
Basra  who  died  in  342/953*.  Of  the  rulers,  'Adad-ud- 
Daulah  was  the  first  to  be  buried  by  the  side  of  Ali's 
grave,  he  having  been  interred  at  first  at  the  Dar-ul- 
mulk  at  Baghdad''.  This  very  'Adad-ad-Dawlah5 
had  the  grave  of  Husain  at  Karbala,  which  had  been  dest- 
royed, ploughed  over  and  sown  at  the  instance  of  the 
Caliph  Mutawakkil,  adorned  with  a  monument6.  In 
the  4th/10th  century  a  monastery  near  Merv7  boasted 
of  being  the  proud  possessor  of  the  head  of  the  Prince  of 
Martyrs  ;  this  head  was  said  to  have  been  taken  in  548/1153 
from  Ascalon  to  Cairo8.  Ibn  Taimiyya  (d.  728/1328) 
declares  it  to  be  a  fiction  of  fools'0.,  Already  in  399/1009 
a  Wazir  at  Kai  had  given  directions  for  his  dead  body  to 
be  taken  to  Karbala  for  burial.  His  son  enquired  of  the 
Alids  whether  he  could  purchase  land  for  500  dinars 
by  the  side  of  Husain's  grave  for  his  father's  burial.  The 
Alid  replied  that  he  would  accept  no  money  from  those 
who  take  shelter  in  the  neighbourhood  of  his  ancestor. 
Thus  the  son  secured  a  place  without  payment10.  The 
interior  of  the  sanctuary  at  Karbala  has  been  for  the  first 
time  described  by  Ibn  Batuta  in  the  8/14th  century. 
Of  the  old  times  we  only  hear  that  the  sarcophagus  was 
covered  with  a  piece  of  cloth  and  that  candles  were  kept 
burning  around  it".  The  piety  of  another  Buwayyid 
Prince  built  a  mosque  over  the  grave  of  Bida  at  Tus,  the 
most  beautiful  in  Khorasan72. 


(1)  Masadi,  IV,  289,  VI,  68.  (2)  Ibn  Haukal,  163.    (3)  Ibn  al-Athir, 
VIII,  380.  (4)  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  13.  (5)  Tabari,  III,  1407.  Satires  regarding 
this  by  Ibn  Bessan  have  come  down  to  us.  Ibn  Bessan  died  302  A.  S. 
(6)    He  also  renovated    the    grave  of  Fatima    al-Qummi.     Hamadani 
Basail,  435.  (7)  Muq.,  46,  333.  (8)  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  427.  (9)  Schreiner, 
Z.  D.  M.  G.,  Vol.  53,  p.  81.  (10)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1.  68.  (11)  Ibn  al-Athir, 
IX,  203,  Ibn  Taghribardi,  p.  123,    (12)    Muq.,  333. 


72  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

NOTES. 

(1)  For  a  brief  account  of  Shiahism,  See  Johannes  Kauri's  Islam 
(pp.  89  et  Sqq.) 

(2)  For  more  detailed   information,     see  Goldziher's   Mohammed 
and  Islam. 

On  p.  222  Goldziher  says  :  '  It  is  an  elementary  fact  that  Islam 
appears  in  two  forms ;  Sunnite  and  Shi'ite.  This  division,  as  we  have 
already  seen,  arose  through  the  question  of  succession.  The  party, 
which  even  during  the  first  three  caliphates  secretly  recognized  the  rights 
of  the  Prophet's  family,  without,  however,  entering  upon  an  open  con- 
flict, protested,  after  the  fall  of  their  pretenders,  against  the  usurpers 
of  the  later  non-ALlite  dynasties.  Their  opposition  was  first  directed 
against  the  Omayyads,  later,  however,  against  all  succeeding  dynasties 
who  did  not  tally  with  their  legitimistic  ideas.  To  all  their  disquali- 
fications they  oppose  the  divine  right  of  the  descendants  of  the  Prophet 
through  the  children  of  Ali  and  Fatima.  Thus,  as  they  condemn  the 
three  caliphs  who  preceded  Ali  as  impious  usurpers  and  oppressors, 
they  also  oppose  secretly,  or,  if  the  opportunity  for  strife  offers,  openly 
the  actual  formation  of  the  Moslem  State  in  all  times  to  come. 

The  very  nature  of  this  protest  easily  led  to  a  form  in  which  reli- 
gious factors  were  predominant.  In  place  of  a  caliph  raised  to  the  sup- 
remo rule  hy  human  device,  they  recognized  the  Imam  as  the  only  justi- 
fiable worldly  and  spiritual  leader  of  Islam, divinelv  called  and  ap- 
pointed to  this  oflico.  Thoy  give  the  preference  to  the  designation* 
Imam  as  more  in  accord  with  the  religious  dignity  of  the  chief  recog- 
nized as  such  by  virture  of  his  direct  descent  from  the  prophet. 

On  p.  230,  ho  discusses  the  inherent  difference  between  the  the- 
ocratic rule  of  the  caliph  in  Sunnism  and  of  the  legitimate  Imam  in 
Shiahism. 

For  Sunnito  Islam  the  caliph  exists  in  order  to  insure  the  carrying 
out  of  the  tasks  of  Islam,  in  order  to  demonstrate  and  concentrate  in 
his  person  the  duties  of  the  Moslem  community.  "  At  the  head  of  the 
Moslems "— I  quote  the  words  of  a  Moslem  theologian—  "  there  must 
stand  a  man  who  sees  that  its  laws  are  carried  out,  that  its  boundaries 
are  kepfc,  and  defended,  that  its  armies  are  equipped,  that  its  obligatory 
taxes  are  raised,  that  the  violent  thieves  and  street  robbers  are  suppres- 
sed, that  assemblies  for  worship  are  instituted,  that  the  booties  of  war 
are  justly  divided,  and  other  such  legal  necessities,  which  an  individual 
in  the  community  cannot  attend  to."  In  a  word,  he  is  the  representa- 
tive of  the  judicial,  administrative  and  military  power  of  the  State. 
As  ruler,  he  is  none  other  than  the  successor  of  his  predecessor,  chosen 
by  human  act  (choice  or  nomination  by  his  predecessor),  not 
through  special  qualities  of  his  person.  The  caliph  of  the  Sunnites 
is  in  no  sense  an  authority  in  doctrine. 

11  The  Imam  of  the  Shi'ites  on  the  contrary  is  the  leader  and  teacher 
of  Islam  by  right  of  personal  qualities  given  to  him  by  God,  he  is  the 
Heir  of  the  Prophet's  Ministry.  He  rules  and  teaches  in  the  name  of 
God.  Just  as  Moses  could  hear  the  call  from  the  burning  bush  •  "  I 
am  Allah,  the  Lord  of  the  worlds"  (Sura  28,  V.  80),  so  it  is  the  direct 
message  of  God  which  is  given  to  the  Imam  of  each  age.  The  Imam 
possesses  not  only  the  character  of  a  representative  of  a  rule  sanctioned 
by  God,  but  also  supernatural  qualities,  raising  him  above  ordinary 
men  and  this  m  consequence  of  a  dignity  not  accorded  to  him,  but  bv 
virtue  of  his  birth  and  rather  a  consequence  of  his  «subatanqo.  * 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  73 

"  Ever  since  the  creation  of  Adam  a  divine  substance  of  light  has 
passed  from  one  chosen  successor  of  Adam  to  the  next,  until  it  reached 
the  loins  of  the  grandfather  of  Mohammed  and  '  AH.  Here  this  divine 
light  divided  itself,  and  passed  in  part  to  '  Ahdallah,  the  father  of  the 
prophet,  and  in  part  to  his  brother  Abu  Talib,  the  father  of  'Ali.  From 
the  latter  this  divine  light  ha«t  passed  from  generation  to  generation,  to 
the  present  Imam.  The  presence  of  the  pre-existent  divine  light  in  the 
substance  of  his  soul  makes  him  the  Imam  of  his  age  and  gives  him 
extraordinary  spiritual  powers  far  surpassing  human  abilities.  His  soul- 
ftubstance  is  purer  than  that  of  ordinary  mortals,  "  free  from  evil 
impulses,  and  adorned  with  sacred  forms  ".  This  is  more  or  less  the 
idea  which  moderate  Shi'ism  has  of  the  character  of  its  Imam.  In 
its  extreme  form  (as  we  shall  see)  '  Ali  and  the  Imam  are  raised  into 
the  vicinity  of  the  divine  sphere,  aye  into  its  very  midst.  Although  this 
transcendental  theory  is  not  clothed  in  definite,  uniform,  dogmatic 
terms  it  may  be  regarded  as  the  generally  recognised  Shi'ite  view  of 
the  character  of  the  Imams  ". 

On  p.  254  et  sqq  he  calls  attention  to  some  erroneous  views  about 
Shiahism  still  widely  prevalent. 

(a)  The  mistaken  view  that  the  main  difference  bet  ween  Sunni  and 
Shi'ite  Islam  lies  in  the  fact  that  the  former  recognizes,  in  addition  to 
the  Koran,  the  Snnna  of  the  Prophet  as  a  source  of  religious  belief  and 
life,  whereas  the  Shi'ites  limit  themselves  to  the  Koran  and  reject  the 
Sunna. 

This  is  a  fundamental  error  involving  a  complete  misunderstanding 
of  Shi'ism,  and  has  arisen  largely  from  the  antithesis  in  the  nomenclature 
between  Snnna  and  Shia.  No  Shi'ite  would  allow  himself  to  be 
regarded  as  an  opponent  of  the  principle  of  Sunna.  Bather  is  he  the 
representative  of  tho  true  Sunna,  of  the  sacred  tradition  handed  down 
by  the  members  of  the  prophet's  family,  while  the  opponents  base  their 
Sunna  on  the  authority  of  usurping  "  Companions  "  whoso  reliability  the 
Shi'ites  reject. 

It  very  frequently  happens  that  a  great  number  of  traditions  are 
common  to  both  groups  ;  differing  only  in  the  authorities  for  their 
authenticity.  In  cases  where  the  Hadiths  of  the  Sunnites  favour  the 
tendencies  of  tho  Shi'ites,  or  at  least  aro  not  opposed  to  them,  Shi'ite 
theologians  do  not  hesitate  to  refer  to  the  canonical  collections  of  their 
opponents.  As  an  example  we  may  instance  the  circumstance  that 
the  collections  of  Bukhari  and  of  Muslim,  as  well  as  of  other  collectors 
of  Hadiths  were  used  at  the  court  of  fanatical  Shi'ite  vizier  (Tala1 
ibn  Buzzik)  as  subjects  for  pious  reading  at  the  sacred  Friday 
gatherings. 

Tradition  is  therefore  an  integral  source  of  religious  life  among 
the  Shi'ites.  How  vital  a  role  it  plays  in  Shi'ite  teachings  may  be 
inferred  from  the  circumstance  that  *  Ali's  teaching  about  the  Koran  and 
Sunna,  as  above  set  forth  (page  43),  is  taken  from  a  collection  of  solemn 
speeches  and  sayings  of  *  Ali,  handed  down  by  the  Shi'ites.  Beverenoe 
for  the  Sunna  is  therefore  as  much  of  a  requirement  for  the  Shi'ites 
as  for  the  Sunnites.  This  is  illustrated  also  in  the  abundant  sunnite 
literature  of  the  Shi'ites,  and  tho  discussions  attached  thereto,  as  well 
as  in  the  great  zeal  with  which  the  Shi'ite  scholars  fabricated  Hadiths, 
or  propagated  earlier  fabrications  which  were  to  serve  the  interests  of 
Shi'ism,  We  must  therefore  reject  the  supposition  that  the  Shi'ites  in 
principle  are  opposed  to  Sunna.  It  is  not  as  rejecters  of  the  Sunna 


74  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

that  they  oppose  its  adherents,  but  rather  as  those  faithful  to  the 
family  of  the  Prophet  and  its  followers — that  is  the  meaning  of  the 
word  Shi'ite — or  as  the  elite  (al-khassa)  as  opposed  to  the  common 
people  (al-amma)  sunk  in  error  and  blindness. 

(b)  It  is  also  an  erroneous  view  which  traces   the   origin   and   deve- 
lopment of  Shi'ism  to  the  modifications  of   the   ideas   in   Islam,   brought 
about  by  the  conquest  of  and  spread  among  Iranic  nations. 

This  widespread  view  is  based  on  an  historical  misunderstanding, 
which  Wellhausen  has  overthrown  conclusively  in  his  essay  on 
the  "  Religios-politischen  Oppositions-Parteien  im  alien  Islam.'1  The 
Alite  movement  started  on  genuine  Arabian  soil.  It  was  not  till  the 
uprising  of  al-Mukhtar  that  it  spread  among  the  non  Semitic  element 
of  Islam.  The  origins  of  the  Imam  theory,  involving  the  theocratic 
opposition  against  the  wordly  conception  of  the  State;  the  doctrine 
of  the  Messin-h  into  which  the  Imam  theory  merges  and  the  belief  in  the 
parousia  in  which  it  finds  an  expression,  as  we  have  seen,  can  be  traced 
back  to  Jewish-Christian  influences.  Even  the  exaggerated  deification 
of  '  AH  was  first  proclaimed  by  '  Abdullah  ibn  Saba,  before  there  could 
possibly  have  been  a  question  of  the  influence  of  such  ideas  from 
Aryan  circles,  and  Arabs  joined  the  movement  in  great  numbers.  Even 
the  most  marked  consequences  of  the  anthropomorphic  doctrine  of  in- 
carnation (see  above  page  233)  owe  their  origin  in  part  to  those  who 
are  of  indisputable  Arabian  descent. 

Shai'ism  as  a  sectarian  doctrine  was  seized  upon  as  eagerlvby  ortho- 
dox and  theocratically  minded  Arabs  as  by  Iranians.  To  be  sure,  the 
Shi'ito  form  of  opposition  was  decidedly  welcome  to  the  latter,  and  they 
readily  identified  themselves  with  this  form  of  Moslem  thought,  on 
whose  further  development  their  old  inherited  ideas  of  a  divine  kingship 
exercised  a  direct  influence.  But  the  primary  origins  of  these  ideas 
within  Islnm  do  not  depend  on  such  influence ;  &hi'ism  is,  in  its  roots, 
as  genuinely  Arabic  as  Islam  itself. 

(c)  It   is   likewise  a  mistaken  view    that    Shi'ism   represents   the 
reaction  of  independent  thought  against  Sunnitic  incrustation. 

Quite  recently  Carra  de  Vaux  has  advocated  the  view  that  the  oppo- 
sition of  Shi' ism  against  Sunnitic  Islam  is  to  be  regarded  as  "  the  re- 
action of  free  and  liberal  thought  against  narrow  and  unbending  ortho- 
doxy/ 

This  view  cannot  be  accepted  as  correct  by  any  student  of  Shi'itic 
doctrines.  To  be  sure,  it  might  be  urged  that  the  cult  of  'Ali  forms  to 
such  an  extent  the  centre  of  religious  life  among  the  Shi'ites  as  to  remove 
all  other  elements  into  the  background.  (See  above  page  231).  This 
feature  cannot,  however,  be  regarded  as  characteristic  of  the  principles 
underlying  Shi'itic  doctrines,  which  in  no  respect  are  less  strict  than 
those  of  the  Sunnites.  Nor  should  we  be  led  astray  in  the  historical 
appreciation  of  the  principle  of  Shi'ism  by  an  increasing  lack  of  regard 
among  the  Shi'ito  Mohammedans  of  Persia  for  certain  restrictions 
demanded  by  the  ritual.  "  In  giving  the  preference  to  infallible  personal 
authority  as  against  the  force  of  general  public  sentiment,  the  Shi'ites 
set  aside  those  potential  elements  of  liberal  thought,  which  manifest 
themselves  in  the  Sunnitic  form  of  Islam  ".  It  is  the  spirit  of  absolu- 
tisms gather  which  permeates  the  Shi'itic  conception  of  religion. 


PHE  RENAISSANCE  Ofr  ISLAM  75 

On  the  Shiahs  and  the  Mutazalites,  Goldzihir  (pp«  249-250)  says: — 

The  connection  between  the  prevailing  dogmatism  of  the  Shi'ites 
and  the  doctrines  of  the  Mutaziiites  seems  to  be  maintained  as  a  definite 
fact  and  finds  an  unmistakable  expression  in  the  declaration  of  the 
Shi'ites  authority,  that  the  doctrine  of  the  hidden  Imam  is  a  part  of  the 
teachings  of  those  who  accept  the  adl  and  tauhid  which  represent  the 
Mutazilite  teachings.  It  is  in  particular  a  branch  of  the  Shi'ites  koown 
as  the  Zeiditic  which  is  even  more  closely  and  more  consistently 
to  the  Mutazilite  doctrines  than  is  the  Imamitic. 

The  Mutazilite  influence  has  maintained  its  hold  on  the  Shi'itic 
literature  up  to  the  present  time.  It  is  a  serious  error  to  declare  that 
after  the  decisive  victory  of  the  Ash'arite  theology  the  Mutazilite  doctrine 
ceased  to  play  any  active  part  in  the  religion  or  the  literature.  The  rich 
dogmatic  literature  of  the  Shi'ites  extending  into  our  own  days  refutes 
such  an  assertion.  The  dogmatic  works  of  the  Shi'ites  reveal  themselves 
as  Mutazilite  expositions  by  their  division  into  two  parts,  one  embracing 
the  chapters  on  "  the  unity  of  God  "  and  the  other  the  chapter  on 
"justice"  (above,  page  110).  Naturally  the  presentation  of  the  Imam 
doctrines,  of  the  infallibility  of  the  Imam  are  also  included.  But  even 
in  regard  to  this  latter  point  it  is  not  without  significance  that  one  of  the 
most  radical  of  the  Mutaziiites,  al  Nazim  agrees  with  the  Shi'ites. 
And  it  is  especially  characteristic  of  the  Shi'itic  theology  that  their  proofs 
for  the  theory  of  the  Imamate  are  based  entirely  on  Mutazilite  founda- 
tions. The  absolute  necessity  of  the  presence  of  an  Imam  in  every 
age  and  the  infallible  character  of  his  person  aro  brought  into  connection 
with  the  doctrine,  peculiar  to  the  Mutaziiites,  of  an  absolutely  necessary 
guidance  through  divine  wisdom  and  justice  (page  111).  God  must 
grant  to  each  age  a  leader  not  exposed  to  error.  In  this  way  Shi'itic 
theology  fortifies  its  fundamental  point  of  view  with  the  theories  of 
Mutazilite  doctrine. 

I  will  conclude  this  note  with  the  words  with  which  Goldziher  closes 
the  chapter  on  Asceticism  and  Sufiiism  (p.  197) : 

"  Ghazali's  writings  are  constantly  belittling  all  dogmatic  formulas 
and  heir-splittings  which  set  up  the  claim  of  having  the  only  means  of 
salvation.  His  dry,  academic  speech  rises  to  the  heights  of  eloquent 
pathos  when  he  takes  the  field  against  such  claims.  He  has  championed 
the  cause  of  tolerance  in  a  special  work  entitled  "  Criterion  of  the 
Differences  between  Islam  and  Heresy".  In  it  he  declares  to  the 
Moslem  world :  that  harmony  in  the  fundamentals  of  religion  should  bo 
the  basis  of  recognition  as  a  believer,  and  that  the  deviation  in  dogmatic 
and  ritualistic  peculiarities,  even  if  it  extends  to  the  rejection  of  the 
Caliphate  recognized  by  Sunni  Islam,  which  would  therefore  include  the 
Shi'ite  schism — should  offer  no  ground  for  heresy.  "Check  your 
tongue  in  regard  to  people  who  turn  to  the  Kiblah  ". 

Words  which  inspired  the  Islamic  world  with  large  liberalism  in  the 
past  and  which  will  assuredly  uplift  it  in  the  future. ! 


VI.  THE  ADMINISTRATION 

Within  the  Caliphate  the  Provinces  formed  more  oi4 
less  a  loose  confederation.  The  central  authority  dealt 
with  them  not  through  departmental  ministries,  but  every 
Province  had  its  own  Board  (Diwan)  at  Baghdad  which 
managed  its  own  affairs.  And  every  such  Board  consisted 
of  two  sections  :  the  general  (Asl)  which  concerned  itself 
with  the  assessment  and  collection  of  taxes1  and  with 
the  problem  of  husbanding  and  augmenting  the  taxable 
resources  of  the  people,  i.  e.,  the  administration  ;  and 
secondly  the  purely  financial  section  (Zimam)".  The 
Caliph  Mutadid  (279-(289/892-90'2)),  the  ablest  ruler  of  the 
3rd/9th  centuryj,  incorporated  the  Provincial  Boards 
into  one  Central  Board  (Diwan-ad-Dar)*,  with  three 
branches  :  the  Eastern  Board  (Diwan  al-Masbriq)  ;  the 
Western  Board  (Diwan  al-Maghrib)  ;  and  the  Board  for 
Babylon  'Diwan  al-  Sawad).  And  the  Caliph,  at  the  same 
time,  placed  the  finance  Boards  of  the  three  branches  under 
one  chief  ;  witli  the  result  that  the  new  century  witness- 
ed the  division  of  the  administration  into  two  departmental 
ministries  :  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior  (Usul)  and  the 
Ministry  of  Finances  (Azimmah).  A  number  of  offices 
(also  called  Diwan)  were  placed  under  these  great  minis- 
tries, for  every  Province  had  its  own  office.  But  as  the 
Chancellor  of  the  Empire  (Wazir),  President  of  the  Central 
Board,  personally  administered  the  Province  of  Babylon, 
some  of  the  Babylonian  provincial  offices  were  treated  as 
Imperial  offices.  No  sharp  line  of  division  between  the 
Central  and  Provincial  offices  was  ever  drawn. 

The  different  Boards  may  thus  be  summarised  :— 
(1)    The   War-Office  (Diwan   al-Jaish).    It  consisted 
of  two  branches  :  the  department  of  pay   (Majlis  al-Taqrir) 
and   the    recruiting  department    (Majlis    al-Muqabalah). 

(1)  Qodamah  (d.  337/948),  Paris,  Arabe  5907,  fol.  10.  "Asl"  has 
this  very  sense  in  the  document  in  Wuz.,  11. 

(2)  On  this  see  Amedroz,  J.  R.  A.  S.,  1913,  ff.    See  also  Misk., 
VI,  338.  At  the  head  of   this   Board  a  financier  was  generally  placed. 
Even  small  Boards  such    as  the  Board   for  the    administration  of  the, 
property  of  a  Caliph's  wife,  had  these  two  sections,  with   a     Superin- 
tendent at  the  head  of  each.    Misk.,  V.  390. 

(3)  Never    did    the    highest  offices  of  the  Empire— those    of    the 
Caliph,  the  Wazir,  the  Minister    (Sahih  Diwan)    and  the  Commander- 
in-Chief — work    so  harmoniously    together   as    they    did    under   this 
Caliph.  Wuz.,  189. 

(4)  The   great  Court-Diwan    was    also  called  Diwan  ad-Dar  al- 
Kabir,  Wuz.,  262.  (6)  Wuz.,  77.  (6)  Wuz,,  271,  124,  Misk,,  V.,  324, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM          11 

Individual  corps,  such  as  Life-guards  and  various  provin- 
cial levies,  were  specially  dealt  with'. 

(2)  The  Board  of  Expenditure  (Diwan  an-Nafaqat) 
at  Baghdad,  chiefly  busied  itself  with  the  requirements  of 
the  Couit.  As  the  largest  part  of  Babylonia  was  leased 
out,  the  tax-farmers  had  to  meet  the  necessary  expenses. 
This  board  consisted  of  : — 

(a)  The  office  dealing  with  pay  and   salary   (Majlis 
al-Ghori),  chiefly  the  salaries  of  Court-Officials   (Hasham); 

(b)  The     office    dealing     with   provisions     (Majlis 
al-Anzal).     It    settled    accounts   with   suppliers   of   bread, 
flesh,  animals  for  purposes  of  food,  sweets,  eggs,  fruit,  fuel, 
etc. 

(c)  Office      of    Camp-followers.      It  ^  dealt     with 
fodder  for  horses,  wild  animals  maintained  at  State  expense, 
with    the    personnel    of  the  stable    and   other   attendants. 
Finally  it   dealt  with  building    accounts,    surveyors,   archi- 
tects ;    with   dealers   of   gypsum,     bricks,    lime   and   clay, 
with  teak-wood  sellers  and   teak-wood   cutters,   carpenters, 
painters  and  gilders. 

(d)  Office  for  contingencies    (Majlis   al-Hawadith) 

(e)  The  Drafting  office. 

(/)     The  Copying-department'2. 

3.  The  office  of  the   State-treasury   (Diwan   Bait   al- 
Mal).     At  Baghdad  it  was   the   controlling   authority   bet- 
ween the  Board  of  Expenditure  and    the    Ministry   of  the 
Interior.     The  statement  of  revenues  came  in   hero   before 
it  went  to  the  Ministry.     All  orders   of  the   Board  of    Ex- 
penditure   had  to   be   countersigned   by   the   head   of  the 
State-tresury*.     In     314/926     it     was     ordered    that   the 
daily   account  (Ruz-nameghat)   of    the   Baghdad   treasury 
should  be  submitted  to  the  Wazir  week  by  week.     Hitherto 
the  practice  had  been  to  submit  monthly   accounts   in   the 
middle  of  the  following  month''.  . 

4.  The     Comparing    Board  (Diwan  al-Musadann)0  : 
orders  for  payments   were  drawn   up   here  in  duplicate 
one  remained  in  this  office,  and    the  other  was  forwarded 
to  the  Wazir. 

5.  The  Despatch    Board    was    called    Diwan    er- 
Rasa'il  in  the  East   and  Diwan  el-Insha  in  Fatimid  Egypt . 


(1)  Qodamah,  Paris,  foL  2b 

(2)  Ibid,  fol.  8a-9b.  „  ,  . 

(3)  Qodamah,  fol.  8.    (4)    Misk.,    5,267.    (5)  Wuz.,  303,  306,  (6) 
'Insha'  is  used  in  the  East    for  the    drafting    office.    Mafatih    el-ulwn, 
ed.  VanVloten,  78;  Wuz.,  151,  216. 


78  THE  mNAt&SAtiCfi  OP  ISLAM 

At  the  beginning  of  the  Vth  century  the  head  of  this 
Board  at  Baghdad  drew  an  annual  salary  of  3000  dinars 
(about  30,000  marks),  besides  fees  which  came  to  him  from 
the  numerous  documents  and  letters  of  appointment  which 
were  drawn  up  here  along  with  the  correspondence  of  the 
Prince,  which  was  the  main  business  of  the  Board1. 

G.  The  General  Post  Office  (Diwan  al-Barid)2. 
Its  chief  supervised  the  officers  of  the  post-roads  and  was 
in  charge  of  their  salaries.  He  had  to  have  intimate 
knowledge  of  the  roads,  for  he  had  to  advise  the  Caliph 
regarding  his  tours  and  the  despatch  of  his  troops.  Above 
everything  he  must  needs  enjoy  the  confidence  of  the 
Caliph,  for  reports  from  all  quarters  came  to  him  and  it  was 
his  duty  to  send  them  on  to  their  proper  destination  and 
to  see  that  reports  of  post-masters  and  other  reports  were 
laid  befoie  the  Caliph*. 

Highly  developed  was  the  news  service  of  the  Empire. 
The  ruler  at  Baghdad  once  sent  a  shoe  to  Ibn  Tulun  in 
Egypt  which  came  from  the  house  of  his  mistress,  the  very 
existence  of  whom  none  but  intimate  friends  knew.  With 
such  a  system  no  life  was  quite  safe''.  The  Post-master 
was  chiefly  the  official  reporter  (Sahib  al-Khabar)  ;  his 
spies  Cain)  supplied  him  with  information.  This  system 
is  a  Byzantine  legacy.  Already  under  the  Emperor 
Constantino  the  Great,  his  colleagues,  who  bore  the  very 
same  name  of  Veredarii,  acted  as  informers5.  And  just 
as  reporters  today,  the  literati  then  took  to  reporting  as 
a  means  of  livelihood6'.  In  the  appointment-letter  of  a 
postmaster,  dated  315  A.H.,  one  of  the  duties  assigned  to 
him  was  to  report  in  detail  on  tax-collectors,  the  cultiva- 
tion of  land,  the  position  of  the  subjects,  the  way  in 
which  judicial  officers  lived,  the  working  of  the  mint  and 
the  office  dealing  with  Government  pensioners.  He  was 


(1)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,242.  (2)  Qodamah  (writes  about  315-927)  VI' 
184  (do  Goeje's  ed.).  (3)  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  II.,  180.  (4)  Maqrzi,  Khitat, 
180.  (5)  J.  Burckhardt,  Die  Zcit  Constants  dc&  (jrosscn.  3rd,  p  70.  In  the 
first  century  of  the  Muslim  rule  an  Egyptian  Post-master  acts  as  an 
official  reporter  of  the  acts  of  the  Prefect.  ZA,  XX,  196.  (6)  In  the 
3rd /9th  century  the  evil  tongue  of  the  poet  Ibn  Bassam  was  silenced  by 
making  him  a  post-master  (Masudi,  VII,  271)  ;  Yaqut,  Irshad,  V, 
322  ff.  As  a  reward  they  allowed  another  poet  to  choose  a  post-master- 
ship among  the  post-masterships  of  Khorasan  (Yatimah,  IV,  62).  The 
post-master  of  Nisabur  possessed  the  largest  number  of  books  even 
in  that  learned  town  (Ibn  Haukal,  320).  The  Maghribi  Ibn  Khal- 
dun,  on  the  other  hand,  regards  the  post-mastership  as  part  of  the 
military  system  (Miiqaddamah,  I.  195J. 


THE  KENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  79 

further  to  keep  an  account  of  the  couriers  within  his 
jurisdiction,  their  number,  their  names,  their  salaries 
and  also  of  the  roads,  the  mileages  and  the  stations 
thereon,  and  to  see  that  the  postal  bags  were  speedily 
despatched.  The  reports  of  each  individual  department, 
such  as  the  judiciary,  police,  taxation,  were  to  be  kept 
separate'.  Not  only  was  it  his  duty  to  report  matters  of 
political  importance  but  also  matters  of  interest.  In  300/912 
the  Post-master  of  Dinawar  reported,  on  the  information 
of  a  confidant  in  another  town,  that  the  mule  of  such  and 
such  a  person  had  given  birth  to  a  young  one  which  was 
a  wonder  to  all2  the  world.  "I  sent  for  the  mule  and 
the  young  one,  and  found  the  mule  of  light  brown  colour 
and  the  young  one  well-developed  with  perfect  limbs  and 
a  hanging  tail." 

7.  The     Caliph's      Cabinet   (Diwan   at-Tauqi)*.     To 
it   came   the   petitions   directed  to   the   ruler   after     they 
had  been  enquired  into  at  the  office  of  the  Royal  Household 
(D.   ad-Dar).     After  disposal   they   were  returned   to  the 
Diwan   ad-Dar,   which   referred   them   to   their  respective 
departments f.     The   order   was   written   on     the    petition 
itself  and   was   a   triumph   of  concentrated  brevity  on  the 
part   of   the   ruler  or  of  his  secretary.     The  marginal  notes 
of   the   Barmecide   Ja'far,    who   administered   this  cabinet 
for  the   Caliph   Harun,   are  said  to   have  been  collected  by 
collectors  who  paid  a  dinar  apiece  for  them5. 

8.  The   Diwan    al-Khatam   (The   Board   of   Signet)6 
where  the  orders  of  the  Caliph  were  sealed  after  they  had 
been  compared  in  different  Boards  and   offices7. 

9.  The   Diwan   al-Fadd   (The  Board  for  breaking  the 
seals).     Here  the  official     correspondence  of  the   Caliph 
was   opened.     Formerly  all  -correspondence   went  straight 
to   the   Caliph,  but   later  it  came  to  the  Wazir  who  passed 
it   on   to   the  respective   ministries.     Thus  the  Diwan  al- 
Fadd  became   the   Wazir's   Board,   with   a   Secretary    as 
the  chief  of  the  office.     In  the  ministry  for  Babylonia  this 
office    apparently    retained  its  earlier  name  :   Majlis   al- 
Askudar  .    These  two  offices   were  placed  under  a  single 

(1)  Qodamah,  Paris  fol.   15.  ff.  (2)  Aril.  39. 

(3)  Khuda  Bukhsh,  Orient  under  the  Caliphs,  236  Tr. 

(4)  Qodamah,  Paris,  fol.  20a. 

(5)  Ibn  KhaIfltan,.Kt*.  al-lbar,  1,206. 

(6)  Orient  under  the  Caliphs,  p  237.     (7)     Qodamah,  fol  20b. 
(8)  Qodamah,  fol.  21b. 


80  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

chief,  who  drew  a  monthly   salary   of  401  dinars  (about 
400  marks)'. 

10.  The  Imperial   Bank  (Diwan  al-Gabedah)*.    Into 
this  Imperial   Bank  flowed   the   commission  for  changing 
smaller  into  bigger  coins,  the   exchange  commission,   the 
interest   on  advances,  fines  for  non-payment  in  due  time 
and  other  items.     Private  persons  paid  in   large  sums   for 
managing    provincial    banks    which    they    exploited    and 
robbed2. 

11.  The    Board    of    Charity    (Diwan     al-Birr    was- 
Sadaqah)1.     At  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th   century   the 
ministers   (Sahib   diwan)   were   of   three  d:fferent  grades*. 
The    minister    for     Babylon    drew    the     largest    salary, 
500   dinars   (circa   500    marks)   per    month5 ;  others  drew 
a  third  of  his  salary.     Under  the   Caliph   al-Mutadid   (279- 
289/892-902),   4,700   dinars   a  month  (circa   50,000  marks) 
were  allotted  in  the   budget   for  all  the   various   employees 
of   the   ministries,   from  the  heads   of  departments  down  to 
door-keepers    and    gatherers    of    rags    and     waste-paper. 
To  this  amount  was   to  be  added   the   pay  of  the   Wazirs, 
the  clerks  of  the  pay-offices,  and  the   treasury-staff.     These 
salaries   were  met  from   fines     and    retrenchments,    and 
therefore   the   amount    of  their    salaries    depended    upon 
their   care   and   vigilance  in  the  discharge  of  their  duties6. 
The  salaries  were  paid   in  the   first   week   of   the   month7. 
At  the  beginning  of  the   4th/10th   century   the   practice, — 
later     very   much   in   favour — was   introduced   of    paying 
less   than   the   whole   of   the   twelve   months'  salary.     In 
314/926   most   of   the   officers  received   only  ten    months' 
pay  and,  as  generally  happens,  officers  on  the   lowest   rung 

(1)  Wuz.,    178.     This  passage  is    somewhat    obscure.     It    appears 
to    me    that    formerly  all    correspondence   addressed  to  the  Caliph  went 
straight  to  the  palace  and  was  opened  there.     Later  this  system  was  done 
away  with  and -the  practice  came  into  vogue  for  the   Wazir  to   deal   with 
all  correspondence  and   distribute  it  to  the    respective  ministries.     While 
the    former  arrangement    lasted,  an    official    in  the    palace    presumably 
opened    the    correspondence   and    placed   it    before    the    Caliph.     This 
official,  who  was  directly  responsible   to  the  Caliph,  must   have  had   his 
bureau    (Diwan    al-Fadd)   at  the    Palace.     Later  when  the  Wazir  took 
charge    of    correspondence,  the   Diwan    al-Fadd    became    the    Wazir's 
Cabinet,  with    his   Secretary  in    charge  thereof.     This    apparently  was 
Additional    work    imposed    upon    the    Secretary.     Being  thus  added  to 
the  office  of  the  Secretary  to  Diwan  al-Fadd  formed  part   of  the   general 
Secretariat  under  the   charge  of  the   Secretary.     No  other  explanation 
suggests  itself  to  me.     Tr. 

(2)  Qodamah,  fol.  20b.     (3)  Misk.,   V,  257.     (4)     Wuz.,    156,     (5) 
Wuz,  314.     (6)  Wuz.,  20.     (7)  Wuz.,  81. 

*   Ohibtah—EA.  "  Islamic  Culture,  " 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  81 

of  the  ladder  suffered  the  most.  Post-masters  and  pay- 
officers  received  only  eight  month's  pay1.  On  the  other 
hand,  by  multiplication  of  offices  in  the  same  hand  an 
attempt  was  made  to  compensate  for  the  loss.  About 
the  year  300/912  one  and  the  same  officer  held  the  Ministry 
of  the  Interior,  the  Presidentship  of  the  Diwan  at-Tauqi 
and  of  the  Bait-al-MaP. 

At  the  head  of  the  Provinces  the  Amir  (Commander- 
of  the  army),  and  the  'Aamil  (chief  of  the  civil  administra- 
tion) stood  side  by  side.  The  'Aamil  really  was  the  tax- 
gatherer,  for  it  was  his  main  duty  to  remit  the  contribut- 
ion of  the  province  to  the  State-Treasury.  He  also  had 
to  defray  the  necessary  expenses  of  administration. 
The  central  treasury  merely  concerned  itself  with  the 
Court,  the  Ministries,  and  matters  connected  with  Bagh- 
dad/. The  two  heads  of  the  Province  shared  the  same 
ceremonial  privileges''  at  court  functions,  and  the  general 
orders  of  the  Wazir  came  simultaneously  to  both5.  In  rank, 
however,  the  Commander  was  higher,  in  the  sense  that 
to  him  fell  the  privilege  of  leading  the  people  at  prayer — 
a  privilege  which  always  marked  him  out  as  the  foremost 
Muslim  in  his  own  jurisdiction6.  If  the  two  got  on  well 
together,  they  could  do  anything  they  pleased, — as  did 
for  instance  the  Amir  and  Aamil  of  Faris  and  Kirman  in 
319/931.  They  remitted  for  a  considerable  length  of 
time  no  revenues  to  Baghdad7,  But  where  these 
posts  were  held  by  one  man  he  was  as  good  as  an  indepen- 
dent ruler  of  the  province.  For  this  very  reason  the  high- 
spirited  Turkish  general  Begkem  would  not  proceed  to 
Khuzistan  in  325/937  unless  they  put  him  in  charge  at 
once  of  the  'army  and  taxes'8.  Officially  the  position 
of  Ahmed  ibn  Tulun  and  of  Ikhshid  was  that  of  the  Amir, 
but  in  reality  they  were  independent  rulers  of  Egypt. 

At  the  end  of  his  chronicle  Dionysius  V  Tellmachre 
(d.  229/834)  complains  of  the  crowd  of  officers  who  in 
every  way  devour  the  broad  of  the  poor9.  For  instance, 
in  the  small  town  of  Raqqah  on  the  Euphrates,  there  were 
(a)  a  qadhi,  (6)  a  taxing-officer,  (c)  a  commander  of  the 
garrison,  (d)  a  post-master  to  report  the  affairs  of  the  town 
(e)  an  administrator  of  the  Crown-lands  (Sawafi),  (f)  a 
Police-officer10.  This  full  complement  of  local  function- 

[1]  Wuz.,  314;  Misk.,  V.  257.  [2]  Wuz.,  77.  [3]  Wuz.,  11  ff. 
[4]  Wuz.,  156.  [5]  Wuz.,  50.  [6]  E,  g.  Tallquist,  15,  [7]  Ibn  al-Athir. 
VIII,  165. 

[8]  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  252.  [9]  Michael  Syrus,  538.  [10]  Ac- 
cording to  Michael  Syrus  [p.  541] — his  account  is  somewhat  obscure — 
the  post  of  the  Chief  of  the  police  was  incorporated  in  that  of  the 


82  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

aries  was  found  in  ovcry  one  of  the  36  districts  of  the  Sama- 
nid  government'.  The  greater  portion  of  this  all  too 
numerous  staff  was  done  away  with  when  the  Wazir, 
who  appointed  them,  vacated  office.  Unemployed,  they 
then  roamed  about  the  streets  of  the  capital  and  intrigued 
until  their  party  was  once  again  in  power,  exactly  as  is 
the  case  in  Spain  today,  and  was  some  time  ago  in 
the  United  States.  Or  else  they  made  the  province 
unsafe.  Once  when  a  former  official  came  with  a  letter 
of  recommendation  from  Baghdad  to  a  Governor  of  Isfahan 
he  impatiently  called  out  :  You  are  a  pest  to  the  country, 
you  unemployed  fellows  !  Every  day  one  of  you  appears 
before  me,  praying  for  alms  or  a  post.  Even  if  I  had  all 
the  weal tl\  of  the  world  it  would  not  suffice  for  you  all2. 

The  shrewd  'Adad-ud-Daulah  made  advances  to  these 
unemployed  during  their  period  of  unemployment,  and 
on  their  appointment  he  realised  the  money  advanced 
to  them*'. 

In  Egypt  the  Ikhshid  was  the  first  to  give  fixed  salaries 
to  officers*.  The  Fatimids  adopted  his  system  almost  in 
its  entirety.  They  evidently  intended  to  partition  the 
State  among  their  supporters.  Gawhar  retained  all  the 
officers  in  their  posts,  but  he  associated  a  Maghribi  with 
each  of  them7.  But  when  the  Maghribis  proved  them- 
selves to  be  a  greater  source  of  trouble,  the  attempt  to 
replace  the  older,  the  entirely  Christian  officialdom  was 
abandoned.  According  to  the  account  of  the  Fatimid 
administration  that  has  come  down  to  us,  the  Wazir, 
like  his  Baghdad  colleague,  drew  a  monthly  salary  of  5,000 
dinars.  The  salaries  of  ihe  ministers  at  Cairo  were, 
indeed,  much  smaller.  The  chief  of  the  Correspondence 
Boaid  (Diwan  al-Insha)  drew  120  ;  the  head  of  the  Treas- 
sury  (Bait  al-Mal)  100 ;  the  other  departmental  heads  70 
to  30  dinars  per  month.  On  40  dinars  (about  400  marks) 
the  chief  of  a  Board  in  Egypt  appointed  an  officer  who 
carried  on  correspondence  on  his  own  responsibility^. 

As  opposed  to  the  army,  where  we  meet  almost  ex- 
clusively witli  names  of  slaves,  the  Civil  Service  shows 


military  commander.    And  yet  the    Caliph  issued  a    separate  patent 

for  the  Chief  of  the  Police  (Sahib  Ma'anah),  Qodamah,   Paris,  fol  145. 
(1)    Ibn    Haukal,    307.    Like    Khorasan,  Babylonia  also  was  divided 

according  to  the  duo-decimal  system  into    24  circles    with    12    districts 

each     Wuz.,  258.      (2)  Kit  al-Faragh  II,  10.  (3)   Ibn  al-Athir,   IX,   16. 

(4)     Tallquist,  39  ;  Maqrizi,    Khitat,    I,    99  (5)    Maqrizi,  Ittiaz,  78  (6) 
Yaqut  .  Irshad238. 


THE  BENA1SSANCE  Of  ISLAM  83 

nothing  but  names  of  freemen  in  its  cadre'.  The 
Persians  especially  took  to  the  civil  service.  In  the 
earlier  days  to  them  belonged  the  Barmacides,  in 
the  later  the  Maderaites  and  the*  Firajabites'.  A  great 
deal  of  the  work  of  the  official  \yas  akin  to  that  of  a  mer- 
chant, and  the  Persian  \vas  to  be  sure  the  cleverest  mer- 
chant of  the  realm.  Even  to-day  the  Austrian  official. 
\vho  organized  the  Persian  postal-service  reports :  Every 
Persian  feels  himself  capable  of  doing  anything  that  may 
be  entrusted  to  him.  He  will  not  hesitate  to  assume,  and 
discharge  the  duties  of  a  high  civil  office  to-day  and  an 
equally  high  military  office  to-morrow*.  This  is  an  old 
Persian  trait.  .Tha  Persian  Secretary  of  the  Baghdadi 
Sultan  Bakhtiyar  felt  .such  confidence  in  himself  that  he 
sought  the  appointment  of  a  Marshal  (tsfahsalar)  and  had, 
on  that  account,  to  ilee  in  368/969  from  Baghdad''. 
And  yet  the  training  of  an  official  was  quite  different  from 
that  of  a  jurist  or  of  a  savant.  His  was  a  temporal  edu- 
cation (Adab)  with  a  mere  working  knowledge  of  theology. 
And  this  difference  reilectcd  itself  even  externally.  The 
official  never  used  the  Tailasaii'  of  the  savant  but  the 

(1)  'Such  names  as  Yaqut,  Gawhar,  Yulbaq  imply  that  their 
owners  were  originally  slaves.  By  /m>  and  unfrcie  Mez  means 
names  of  '  freemen  and  names  of  slaves. '  For  this  note  I  am  in- 
debted to  Prof.  Margoliouth.  Tr.  (2)  Istakhri,  146.  These  civil 
servants  were  of  five  kinds:  (l)  clerks  in  the  Despatch  Ollico  ; 
(2)  clerks  in  the  Tax  Office  ;  (3)  clerks  in  the  War  Oilice  ;  (4) 
clerks  attached  to  courts  ;  (5)  clerks  in  the  Police  Oilice  ;  Baihaqi, 
ed.  Schwally,  448  ;  more  exhaustively  in  the  Jamharah  of  Saizari, 
Leiden,  fol.  99a  ff.  (3)  Aus  Persian,  Wine,  1882,184. 

(4)  Misk.,  VI.  326  ff.  (5)  Taiwan  is  a  'scarf  or  'hood'  (ac- 
ademic) which  lies  on  the  shoulder.  It  appears  from  Arab  authors 
that  the  Tailasan  was  also  sometimes  worn  round  the  turban.  See  Lane 
S.  V.  Browne,  Lit.  Hist,  of  Persia,  1,335 ;  Dozy,  Noms  de  Vctcmcnts 
chez  les  arabes,  278  sqq  ;  Burhan-i-Qati.  S.  V.)  The  Tailasan  was 
also  worn  by  Judges.  "Sometimes  I  have  spoker,,"  says  Muqaddasi 
in  his  Alisan  ut-Taqsim  (p.  7),  "in  a  terse  way  implying  rather  than 
expressing  details.  Thus,  for  instance,  my  words  regarding  Ahwaz  : 
"There  is  no  sanctity  in  its  mosque."  I  mean  thereby  that  it  is  full 
of  swindlers,  low  and  ignorant  people  who  arrange  to  meet  there.  Thus 
the  mosque  is  never  free  from  people  who  sit  there  while  others  aro  en- 
gaged in  prayer.  It  is  the  gathering-place  of  importunate  beggars  and  a 
home  of  sinners.  And  such  is  also  my  remarks  about  Shiraz.  I  say 
"there  are  a  large  numbers  of  people  there  with  Tailasans/'  By  this  I 
mean  that  the  Tailasan  is  alike  the  dress  of  the  gentlmen,  the  learnod 
and  the  ignorant.  How  often  have  I  not  seen  drunken  people  turning 
their  Tailasans  upside  down  and  trailing  them  behind  themselves  !  When 
I  sought  admission  at  the  Wazir's  wearing  a  Tailasan  I  was  refused  ad- 
mission ;  it  would,  perhaps,  havo  been  otherwise  had  I  been  recog- 
nized, but  I  was  always  asked  in  when  I  went  wearing  a  Durrah." 
I  ana  indebted  to  Dr,  Siddiqi  of  Dacca  for  this  note.  Tr.  See  Yaqut 
Irshad  1234  ;  Muq.,  440. 


84  THE  HENA1SSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Durrdali  (a  garment  with  an  opening  or  slit  in   the  front. 
It  was  always  of  wool  without   any  lining). 

When  the  Wazir  Al-'Utbi  pressed  the  learned  Ibn  Dhal 
(d.  378/988)  to  accept  the  presidentship  of  the  'Diwan 
er-Easa'il'  he  made  it  clear  to  him  that  acceptance  of  the 
office  would  not  mean  his  exclusion  from  the  guild  of 
savants,  for  that  office  in  Khorasan  \vas  a.  juristic  office7. 
On  the  other  hand  the  Caliph  refused  to  appoint  a  learned 
man  as  his  Wazir,  on  the  ground  that  it  would  be  said 
everywhere  that  he  had  no  Katib  in  his  dominions  availa- 
ble for  such  a  post". 

This  pure  body  of  secular  officers  constitutes  a  striking 
contrast  between  the  Muslim  Empire  and  the  Europe  of 
the  Early  Middle  Ages  where  the  clerks  consisted  of  none 
but  classical  scholars.  This  indeed  was  not  to  the  best 
advantage  of  Islam,  for  the  official  world,  absorbed  in 
its  work  and  content  with  its  small  intellectual  inheritance, 
rarely  took  part  in  the  higher  intellectual  activities  ot 
the  day.  The  official  world  was  a  safe  refuge  to  the  laity 
from  the  storm  and  stress  of  intellectual  and  spiritual  strife. 
Even  to-day  the  self-complacent  effendi  is  a  great  hind- 
rance to  progress, — as  great,  perhaps,  as  the  narrow- 
minded  theologian.  Pious  legend  traces  the  fundamental 
rules  relating  to  officers  and  judges  to  Omar  I.  He  is 
said  to  have  imposed  four  obligations  on  his  officers  :  (a) 
never  to  xide  a  horse  ;  (b)  never  to  use  fine  linen  ;  (c)  never 
to  eat  dainty  dishes  ;  (d)  never  to  close  the  door'  against 
the  indigent,  and  never  to  keep  a  hajib*. 

And  in  the  3rd/9th  century  money  played  an  ugly  role 
in  the  official  circles.  Everything  was  to  be  paid  for5, 
even  the  very  office  itself,  and  money  had  to  be  found  in 
all  possible  ways.  The  head  of  the  office  made  money  by 
drawing  salaries  of  employees  who  were  either  not  required 
or  were  not  employed  at  all.  Moreover  he  falsely  showed 
on  the  list  various  employees  as  jurists  and  clerks,  and 
debited  to  the  treasury  larger  sums  than  were  actually 
spent  on  the  purchase  of  paper  (for  use  in  his  department)6. 
The  civil  head  ('Aamil)  of  Egypt  drew  a  splendid  salary  of 
3,000  dinars  (about  30,000  marks)  a  month.  Of  course 
out  of  this  amount  he  had  to  defray  the  expenses  of  his 
office,  besides  the  presents  to  the  military  chief,  the  Court 
and  the  Wazir.  Even  the  favourite  wife  of  a  Caliph 


(1)     es-Subki,  II.  166.     (2)  Wuz.,  322 

(3)  Kit  al-Khiraji  ;  Wnz,,  66.  (4)  'Hajib'  literally  means  'one 
who  does  not  let  people  in  or  one  who  prevents  people's  access  to  tee 
door.  (5)  Wuz.,  263.  (6)  Misk.,  V.,  344. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  «6 

complained  that  she  was  badly  served  by  the  officials, 
and  the  Caliph  thereupon  advised  her  to  make  presents 
to  them  to  put  them  in  better  humour'  The  poet 
Ibn  el-Mut(azz  (d.  296/908)  calls  the  officers  "Choleric 
Nabateans",  with  full  bellies  ;  while  he  describes  the 
people  as  thin  and  lean'.  And  the  pious  people  of  those 
times  grouped  officers  and  sinners  together,  not  unlike 
the  "publicans  and  sinners"  of  the  New  Testament.  A 
pious  engraver  refused  to  engrave  a  precious  stone  of  an 
officer  for  100  dinars,  whereas  be  did  the  same  thing  for  a 
merchant  for  10  dirhams.  Another  pious  man  refused  500 
dinars  which  a  merchant  offered  as  a  gift  to  him.  His 
friends,  however,  talked  him  over  by  arguing  that  one 
might  refuse  to  have  anything  to  do  with  government 
moneys,  for  such  moneys  were  always  under  the  shadow 
of  suspicion,  but  no  such  suspicion  rested  on  the  self- 
acquired  money  of  a  merchant'.  And  yet  another 
was  taunted  for  sitting  at  dinner  with  an  officer.  He 
apologised  by  urging  that  the  food-stuff  was  lawfully 
purchased ''.  One  day  when  Ahmed  ibn  Harb  was  sitting 
with  the  Chiefs  and  distinguished  men  of  Nisabur  who  had 
called  on  him,  his  son  came  into  the  room  drank,  playing 
a  guitar  and  singing.  He  passed  impudently  through 
the  room  without  greeting*  them.  When  Ahmad  observed 
their  astonishment,  he  asked  :  What  is  it  ?  They  rejoined  : 
We  are  ashamed  to  see  this  lad  pass  thee  by  in  such  a. 
condition.  Thereupon  Ahmad  replied  :  He  is  to  be  for- 
given. One  night  my  wife  and  1  partook  of  food  sent  to 
us  by  a  neighbour.  That  very  night  this  boy  was  concei- 
ved. We  went  to  sleep  without  saying  our  prayer.  Next 
morning  we  enquired  of  our  neighbour  where  the  food  came 
from  which  he  had  sent  us  and  we  were  informed  that  it 
came  from  a  government-servant  at  whose  house  there 
was  a  wedding-feast5.  In  saying  goodbye  to  an  officer 

some  said  seriously,  some  in  joke  :  Do  penance  for  thy 
appointment.  When  an  emeritus,  attracted  by  a  fat  pay, 

(1)  Wuz.,  184  ff.  "Mutadid  made  a  grant  of  an  estate  to  a  fa- 
vourite, but  the  head  of  the  Diwan  delayed  giving  effect  to  it,,  and  on 
her  complaining  to  the  Caliph,  he  told  her  that  the  proper  way  for 
her,  as  for  others,  was  to  approach  the  official  with  the  customary 
presents.  On  her  doing  this  the  grant  was  passed  and  the  official 
boasted  thereafter  of  having  taken  a  present  by  the  Caliph's  order." 
Amedroz.,  J.  K.  A.  8.,  1908.,  pp.  481-2  Tr.  (2)  Diwan,  II,  14.  It 
is  true  that  he  had  unhappy  experiences  at  Court.  For  thirty  years 
he  wrote  in  prose  and  verse  to  officials  without  getting  anything. 
(Wuz.,  115). 

3)  Ahmad  ibn  Yahya,  ed.  Arnold,  p.  44.  (4)  Ibid.,  61  ;  56. 
(5)  Kashf  el-mahjub,  366. 


86  THE  HENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

accepted  an  office,  he  was  called  'apostate".  General 
opinion  indeed  hadly  regarded  the  charge  of  corrupt 
administration  of  an  office  as  slanderous.  The  chroniclers 
are  amazed  to  find  high  officers  honest.  Thus  it  is  ex- 
pressly reported  of  the  deceased  head  of  the  public  treas- 
ury in  314/926  that  he  left  no  money  behind3.  It 
frequently  happened  that  officials,  suspected  and  even 
convicted  of  malpractices,  were  left  in  their  posts  or  were 
reinstated  after  they  had  paid  up  their  fines.  But  such 
was  not  always  the  case.  We  are  told  on  good  authority 
that  Ikhshid,  otherwise  a  sound  financier,  was  the  author 
of  this  system^.  When  anything  untoward  happened 
to  an  official  his  more  successful  colleagues  opened  a  subs- 
cription-list to  lighten  the  burden  of  his  punishment*. 
It  needed  the  eccentric  Hakim  cut  off  in  494/1013, 
for  embezzlement,  the  hands  of  a  ministerial  chief  like 
those  of  an  ordinary  criminal.  But  this  very  Caliph 
placed  him  again  in  409/1018  at  the  head  of  the  pay-office. 
In  418/1027  he  made  him  his  Wazir7. 

The  unnatural  condition  of  the  civil  service  under  the 
Caliphate  brought  its  own  Nemesis,  namely,  the  craving 
for  titles  and  the  use  of  involved  phraseology  in  official 
documents,  which  began  in  the  4th/10th  century  and  has 
continued  to  this  day.  They  assigned  great  importance 
to  inflated  court  style  in  speech  and  address,  but  notable 
it  is  that  the  subscription — in  contrast  to  the  European 
practice — was  marked  with  brevity.  Hitherto  the  mode 
of  address  had  simply  been  :  To  the  father  of  N.  from  the 
father  of  N.  Al-Fadl  b.  Sahl  introduded  about  200/815  the 
form  "To  N.  N.  May  God  preserve  him.  From  N.  N."0>. 
Thenceforward  the  development  became  very  rapid. 
We  have  list  of  the  different  grades  of  addresses  which  the 
Wazir  used  in  the  beginning  of  the  IVth  century.  The 
commanding  officer  in  Syria  was  to  be  addressed  :  "May 
God  strengthen  thee,  preserve  thy  life,  make  his  goodness 
perfebt  in  thee  and  bestow  His  favours  on  thee".  The 
engineer  was  to  be  addressed  :  "May  God  protect  and  for- 
give thee."  The  lowest  grade  of  officers,  such  as  country 
post-masters  and  government  bankers,  were  to  be  only 


(1)  Misk,,V.,  244. 

(2)  Arib,   128.    (3)  Tallqtiist,  39.    (4)   Wua.,   306,308.     (6)    Bec- 
ker, Betiragc  Znr  Gexch.    Ayyptenx,    1,    34;    according     to  fel-Musab- 

bihi  (420),    (6)  Eutychius  (d.   318/930)  p.   C4  ;    according  to  a  vetfy  good 
authority.    (7)  Wuz,,  153  flf.  4 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  87 

addressed  with  "May  God  preserve  thee'".  At  tho 
beginning  of  tho  century,  the  magnates  and  Wazirs  were 
addressed  as  "our  master"  fSayyadana)  or  our  patron 
(Maulana),  and  in  the  second  person  'thou.'  In  374/984 
two  Wazirs  were  already  given  the  title  of  "the  exalted 
Sahib,"  and  were  addressed  as  "the  master,  my  patron, 
my  leader"  in  the  3rd  person3. 

What  matters  to  me,  sings  Khawarizmi  (d.  383/993), 
if  the  Abbasids  have  thrown  open  the  gates  of  honour 
and  surnames.  They  have  conferred  titles  on  a  man 
whom  their  ancestors  would  not  have  made  the  doorkeeper 
of  their  lavatory.  Though  plentiful  the  titles,  few  are  the 
dirhams  in  the  hands  of  these  our  Caliphs5. 

In  429/1037  the  Chief  Qadhi  Mawardi  received  the  title 
of  Aqda'l-Qudat,  Highest  Judge.  Certain  theologians 
took  exception  to  it.  On  their  part,  however,  they  de- 
clared it  legal  to  call  the  Amir  Jalal-ad-Daulah  'Great 
King  of  Kings,'  a  title  which  Mawardi  regarded  as  the 
usurpation  of  God's  title.  Later  all  judges  were  called 
Aqda'l-Qudat'7. 

In  this  respect  too  the  Cliph  Hakim  tried  to  go  back 
upon  existing  conditions..  After  freely  distributing  at 
first  all  kinds  of  titles,  in  408/1017  he  repealed  all  save  the 
seven  highest.  But  soon  the  old  practice  was  re-intro- 
duced5. The  Secretary  of  the  Caliph  al-Qadir  (381-422/ 
991-1031)  is  said  to  have  introduced  as  the  ordinary  mode 
of  court-address  Al-Hadhrah.  Even  in  this  small  matter 
the  practice  of  the  4th/10th  century  obtains  in  the  Orient 
to-day.  He  is  said  to  have  addressed  the  Wazir,  for  the 
first  time,  as  'thy  exalted  wazirite  presence'  (al-hadhrat 
al-aliyat  al-waziriyyah).  This  .very  man  is  said  to  have 
introduced  for  the  first  time  the  expression  "the  most 
sacred,  prophetic  presence,"  in  addressing  the  Caliph 
instead  of  the  older,  simpler  term  "Caliph,"  and  this 
innovation  soon  became  the  general  practice.  The  strang- 
est term,  the  appellation  of  the  Caliph  as  "service"  goes 
back  to  him.  Thus  I  read  a  passage  in  the  handwriting 
of  the  Qadhi  ibn  Abi'l-Sawarib  :  "The  servant  of  the 

(1)  Wuz.,  153  ff.  (2)  Taghribardi,  34.  Even  the  Christian 
Wazir  Isa  ibn  Nestorius  was  spoken  of  as  "onr  sublime  master" 
(Sayyadana  el-ajall).  Yahya  ibn  Sacid,  fol.  112a.  Wuz.,  153  ff.  (3) 
Yatimah,  VI,  145,  (4)  Yaqut.  Irshad,  V,  407,  (5)  Yahya  ibn  Sai'id  222, 


88  THE  EENA18SANCE  OF  ISLAM 

most  sublime  'service'  such  and  suchV  The  Caliph 
Al-Qaim  conferred  upon  his  Wazir  (killed  in  450/1058) 
three  titles  : — Rais  al-Ru'asa,  (Chief  of  Chiefs),  Sharf 
al-Wuzara  (honour  of  the  Wazirs),  Jamal  al-Wara  (Beauty 
of  Creation". 

On  the  other  hand,  in  the  judicial  department,  the 
original  mode  of  address  continued ;  in  his  letters  the 
Chief  Judge  always  addressed  judges  by  their  names3. 

On  Fridays  and  Tuesdays  all  offices  were  closed.  Thus 
the  Caliph  al-Mutadid  (279-289/892-902)  is  said  to  have 
ordained  the  holiday  on  Friday  because  it  was  a  day  of 
prayer  and  also  because  his  teacher  had  always  given  him 
a  holiday  on  that  day,  and  on  Tuesday  because  in  the 
middle  of  the  week  people  needed  a  day  for  rest  and  a  day 
to  themselves  for  the  management  of  their  own  private 
affairs7'. 


(1)  Wutf.,  148  ff. 

(2)  TarikhBaylulad,  J.  ft.  A.  8.  (1912)67. 

(3)  wuz.,  148  ff. 

(4)  Wua.,  22' 


VII.  THE  WAZIK. 

WITH  the  end  of  the  feudal  state  and  the  rise  of  bureaucracy 
the  Wazir  steps  into  light  under  the  first  Abbasid.  The 
Omayyads  knew  of  no  such  official'.  In  the  beginning  of 
the  4th/10th  century  the  chancellor  was  further  defeudaliz- 
ed,  the  caliph  taking  away  from  him  the  administration 
of  the  Abbasid  family  estates,  which  yielded  his  predeces- 
sors an  annual  income  of  170,000  dinars  ;  a  fixed  salary 
at  first  of  5,000,  and  later  of  7,000  dinars  was  assigned 
to  him2.  But  as  compared  with  the  other  officials  he 
held  a  position  of  exceptional  importance.  He  received 
stipends  for  his  sons,  500  dinars  a  month  for  each,  indeed 
a  minister's  salary5. 

The  most  noticeable  change  was  t-hat  in  the  empire 
originally  founded  on  a  military  basis,  the  Wazir,  the  chief 
clerk,  stood  higher  in  rank  than  all  the  generals.  The 
mighty  official  hierarchies  of  the  earlier  Orient  were  once 
more  revived.  When  in  the  year  312/924  the  all-powerful 
marshal  Munis  returned  to  Baghdad,  the  Wazir  proceeded 
on  his  barge  to  him — "  a  thing  which  no  Wazir  had  ever 
done  before  " — to  congratulate  him  on  his  safe  arrival. 
On  his  departure  the  Marshal  kissed  his  hand^. 

Like  the  other  officials  at  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th 
century  the  Abbasid  Wazir  generally  used  the  Darra'ah 
(mantle),  Qamis  (coat),  Mubattanah  (shirt),  and  the  Khuff 
(shoes)5.  The  official  colour  was  black'*. 

At  Court  festivities  the  Wazir  wore  the  Court-dress 
(Thiyab  al-Mauhib),  Qaba  (Gown),  and  the  sword,  sus- 

(1)  Al  Fakhri,  ed  Ahlwardt,  180.  (For  the  earlier  history  of  the 
Wazir,  see  my  Contribution*  to  the  History  of  Islamic  Civilization, 
pp.  242  et  sqq.  Tr).  (2)  Wtiz.  280,  350,  Misk,  v,  268.  (3)  Wnz.,  23. 
In  the  Fatimid  Empire  even  all  his  brothers  received  2 — 300  Dinars  a 
month,  Maq.  1,401.  (4)  Wuz,  50  sqq. ;  Misk  v.  214. 

(5)  Wuz,  325  (6)  In  the  poem  of  Isfahani  apud  Al  Fakhri,  ed. 
Ahlwardt.  8g" 


90  THE  RENAISSANCE  0£  ISLAM 

pended  from  his  girdle  (Mintaqah) ;  the  only  piece  of  civil 
dress  on  him  then  was  the  black  Imamah  (turban)1.  This 
costume  was  solemnly  bestowed  upon  him  by  the  Caliph 
on  his  appointment  to  office.  In  a  procession  of  courtiers, 
generals,  officers,  he  was  fetched  from  and  escorted  back 
home,  and  the  historian  takes  pains  to  state  that  a  wazir 
once,  on  such  a  festive  occasion,  wanting  to  pass  water, 
alighted  at  the  house  of  an  officer,  whose  salary  he  increased 
for  this  accommodation".  On  his  return  home  the  wazir 
received  the  congratulations  of  the  people  in  the  order 
of  their  rank.  The  Caliph  sent  him  money,  robes  of 
honour,  incense,  food  and  drink,  and  ice'*. 

Even  the  routine  of  the  wazir's  work  about  300/913 
has  come  down  to  us,  with  a  note  that  he  kept  up  his 
earlier  habits  as  the  head  of  a  department.  His  counsel- 
lors saw  him  early  in  the  morning.  To  each  he  then  as- 
signed the  papers  connected  with  his  department  with 
necessary  directions.  In  the  evening  they  brought  the 
papers  back  for  inspection  and  remained  on  till  night. 
When  the  work  was  over  and  papers  connected  with 
expenses,  orders,  accounts  had  been  laid  before  him  and 
dealt  with,  the  Wazir  adjourned  the  meeting  by  rising 
from  his  seat''.  At  these  meetings  each  officer,  with  his 
inkstand  in  front  of  him,  occupied  a  fixed  seat  facing  the 
wazir,  the  chief  secretary  sitting  straight  in  front  of  him.5 


[1]  Sabusti,  Kit.  ad-diwanat.  fol.  6G  a  ;  Misk,  VI,  45,  46  ;  Yaqut 
Irshad,  V,  356.  In  319/931  the  peojrio  woro  surprised  to  seo  the 
Wazir  on  a  festive  occasion  in  a  soldier's  cap  (Shashiya,)  and  with  a 
sword  suspended  from  his  shoulder-belt  ("Arib,  165).  Wo  know  of  the 
daily  routine  of  a  Wa,?ir  about  275/888.  Ho  rose  towards  the  end  of 
the  night  and  prayed  till  sunrise.  Then  he  received  people  who  had 
come  to  pay  respects  to  him.  This  done,  he  rode  to  the  Caliph's 
palace  whore  ho  discussed  matters  with  him  for  full  four  hours.  Then 
on  ret?£rn  home  he  dealt  with  the  affairs  of  those  present  and  absent 
until  midday.  He  then  took  his  meal  and  rested.  Late  in  the  after- 
noon he  occupied  himself  with  State  finances.  An  abstract  of  all  in- 
come and  expenditure  was  laid  before  him.  This  done,  he  looked 
into  his  own  affairs  and  matters  concerning  his  own  servants.  He  then 
conversed  and  took  rest  (Sabusti,  Berlin,  fol.  118bJ  About  the  middle 
of  the  4th/I()th  cent?*ry  the  Buwayyid  Wazir  at  Eai  used  to  go  to  office 
before  sunrise  with  candles  and  beacon-grates  [Yaqut,  Irshad,  V, 
358].  Also  at  the  end  of  the  5th/llth  century  the  Wazir  went  early 
in  the  moming  [after  sunrise]  to  the  office,  came  home  at  10  o'clock, 
remained  undisturbed  till  midday  and  after  that  did  what  he  pleased. 
[es-Subki,  III,  141]. 

[2]  Arib,  164. 
[3]  Wnz.,  31. 
[4=]  Wuz.,  235.  [5]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,  342. 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  91 

Of  important  documents  the  wazir  kept  a  copy  in  his 
archives  which,  as  a  rule,  after  his  fall,  made  their  way 
to  the  house  of  his  successor'.  When  in  304/916  Ibn  al- 
Furat  succeeded  'All  ibn  'Isa  these  papers  filled  up  a  whole 
house  to  the  ceiling.  We  also  read  of  a  bamboo  chest 
in  which  private  papers  were  kept,  and  on  the  lid  of  which 
the  wazir  had  made  a  list  of  its  contents2. 

Up  to  320/93*2  the  former  palace  of  Sulaiman  ibn 
Wahb,  with  a  circumference  of  200,000  yards,  on  the 
Eastern  Bank  of  the  Tigris  (called  also  Dar-al-Mukharrim), 
had  been  the  official  residence  of  the  wazir.  Later  they 
realized  a  fabulous  sum  of  money  by  the  sale  of  this  ex- 
tensive plot  of  land  in  one  of  the  most  expensive  quarters 
of  the  town.  They  parcelled  it  out  into  numerous  plots 
and  sold  them  to  various  people,  using  the  sale-proceeds 
as  the  donative  of  the  Caliph  Qahir  to  his  troops.5  The 
palace  of  one  of  the  Caliph's  sons  was  then  assigned  to  the 
wazir''.  In  front  of  the  wazir's  office  so  many  foot- 
soldiers  were  quartered  as  guards  that  thirty  men  could 
be  sent  out  at  a  time  for  special  purposes5.  At  the  great 
audience  of  the  wazir  armed  guards  stood  in  readiness  in 
the  hall  to  escort  persons  specially  honoured,  and  always 
the  wazir,  from  the  hall.  They  marched  in  front  with 
drawn  swords.  The  guard  is  said  to  have  consisted  of  as 

many  as  200  soldiers0'. 

% 

The  wazir  generally  went  to  Court  only  on  the  days  of 
audience,  which  at  the  beginning  of  the  century  were 
Mondays  and  Thursdays7.  On  these  occasions  one  of  the 
four  Secretariat  chiefs  used  to  ride  to  the  palace  with  him8. 
There  he  had  a  special  house  set  apart  for  him,  where  the 
courtiers  paid  their  official  call  on  him  untill  he  was  sum- 
moned to  the  Caliph.  From  312/924,  however,  the  wazir 
waited  at  the  house  of  the  Court-Marshal,  an  indication 
of  his  waning  power0.  At  the  meeting  he  sat  opposite  to 
the  Caliph.  On  these  occasions  in  his  left  hand  he  held  a 
beautiful  inkstand  which  was  suspended  from  a  chain. 
The  demands  of  yet  more  exacting  ceremonials  of  later 


(1)  Wuz.,  208. 

(2)  Wuz.,  59;  Misk.  V.  253.  (3)  Misk.  V,  410;  Wuz.  (pp.  23)  men- 
tions 173,  346  ells  as  its  measurement. 

(4)    Misk.  V,  391.  (5)    Wnz.,  121. 

(6)  Wuz,,   112. 

(7)  Wuz.,  241;   352.     (8)    Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  7;  Kit.   al-Uyun, 
JV,  Berlin,  fol.  586.    (9)    Wuz.,  368, 


92  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

times  (about  300/913)  required  a  Chamberlain  to  stand 
by  the  wazir  holding  his  inkstand7.  On  days  other  than 
the  audience-days  the  wazir  had  a  representative  at  Court2, 
but  the  courtiers  kept  him  informed  of  all  that  happened 
at  the  Palace3.  In  300/913,  when  the  Caliph  wanted  to 
appoint  a  wazir,  he  drew  up  a  long  list  of  candidates  and 
sent  it  to  his  confident  who,  by  reason  of  old  age,  was 
constrained  to  give  up  his  appointment  as  Wazir.  Ho  made 
his  note  against  each  name.  But  when  this  very  retiring 
wazir  suggested  the  appointment  of  a  Qadhi  as  his  suc- 
cessor the  Caliph  resented  the  suggestion.  He  would  be 
laughed  at,  said  he,  by  the  Princes  of  Islam  and  peoples 
of  other  faith  were  he  to  do  such  a  thing  ;  for  they  would 
then  assuredly  say  that  either  there  is  no  competent  official 
(Katib)  for  such  an  appointment  in  his  dominion,  or  that 
he  has  gone  astray  in  his  decision*.  But  about  this  very 
time  the  Qadhi  Al-Merwazi  of  Bokhara  (d.  334/946)  became 
the  wazir  of  the  Samanid  Prince  of  Khorasan'5. 

The  tendency  of  the  times  was  to  create  a  caste  out  of 
every  high  official  position.  Like  the  clan  of  the  Qadhis, 
there  grew  up  the  clan  of  the  wazir.  The  wazir's  sons 
fromed  a  special  caste,  the  highest  in  the  official  circle6. 
Even  the  post  became  hereditary.  In  his  eighteenth  year 
the  son  of  the  wazir  Ibn  Muqlah  succeeded  his  father7  ; 
in  his  twenty-fourth  the  son  of  Amid8.  The  family  of 
Khaqan  furnished  four  wazirs  in  seventy  years,  and  in 
fifty  years  that  of  Banu-1-Furat  a  similar  number.  Amid 
was  the  Wazir  of  Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah,  founder  of  the  Buway- 
yid  dynasty.  His  son  and  grandson  became  wazir  of 
Rukn-ud-Pawlah  in  Iran.  Ten  members  of  the  Banu 
Wahib,  originally  Babylonian  Christians,  held  the  highest 
officers  in  succession.  Of  these  four  actually  were  wazirs9. 
The  wazir  nominated  in  310/931,  and  belonging  to  this 
family,  was  a  spendthrift  in  his  youth,  who  had  run  into 
debts.  He  was  so  hard  pressed  by  his  creditors  that  the 
Qadhi  had  to  put  him  under  the  Court  of  Wards.  The 
efficient  Marshal  Munis  accordingly  apprehended  that  he 
would  mismanage  as  wazir  the  State-finances  just  as  he 
had  mismanaged  his  own™.  The  matter  appeared  all  the 
more  serious  as  the  Wazir  essentially  was  Finance  Minister. 
He  had  to  prepare  the  budget ;  impose  or  annul*1  taxes  ; 

(1)  Wuz.,  342.  (2)  Al-Fakhri,  392  ;  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  II  156  (3)  Wuz., 
267  ;  For  Cairo,  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,82.  (4)  Wuz.  322.  (5)  Flugel,  Die 
Klassen  der  hanafitischen  Rechtsgelehrten,  296. 

(6)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  66  a  (7)  Syuti  Husn  al-Muhadhara  II, 
127.  (8)  Yaqufc  Irshad,  V.  356.  (9)  Amedroz,  JKAS,  1908  p.,  418  ; 
Yatimah,  III  359.  (10)  Ainedroz,  1908  431.  (11)  Ibn  al-Athir  VIII,  51. 


THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  93 

realize  revenue  from  the  provinces'.  In  303/915  the 
troops,  clamouring  for  more  pay,  had  already  burnt  his 
cattle  and  killed  his  horses  in  the  stables3.  In  the  4th/10th 
century  the  barques  of  the  wazir  were  invariably  wrecked 
on  the  financial  rock.  When  in  334/946  the  wazir  heard 
that  the  troops  were  blaming  him  for  delay  in  the  payment 
of  their  salary  he  sheared  his  head,  washed  himself  with 
hot  water,  wrapped  himself  up  in  his  shroud  and  prayed 
all  night.  .  The  soldiers  eventually  killed  him.  He  was 
a  theologian.  He  fasted  every  Monday  and  Thursday,  and 
always  prayed  to  God  to  let  him  die  in  power3. 

The  most  critical  year  in  the  history  of  the  Wazirs  is 
the  year  334/946.  With  the  entry  of  the  Buwayyids  into 
Baghdad  the  Chancellor  of  the  Amir  (Chief  administrator) 
also  received  the  title  of  Wazir  ;  whereas  the  Chancellor 
of  the  Caliph  ceased  to  be  addressed  as  such''.  Strictly 
speaking  there  was  now  no  Wazir  any  longer.  Hilal  as- 
Sabi,  in  his  "History  of  the  Wazirs"  mentions  the  most 
prominent  Chancellors  of  the  4th/10th  century  and  divides 
them  into  (a)  Wazirs  of  the  Abbasid  dynasty  and  the 
Kuttab  (clerks)  of  the  Dailamite  period5.  Thus  even 
Gauhar,  at  the  conquest  of  Egypt,  refused  in  the  beginning 
the  title  of  Wazir  to  Ja'far  ibn  al-Fadl  since  he  was  not 
the  Wazir  of  the  Caliph6.  To  the  Fatimids,  at  first,  the 
name  itself  was  apparently  to  profane  ;  their  highest  official 
was  the  Qadhi.  The  second  Egyptian  Caliph,  Al-'Aziz  was 
the  first  to  appoint  a  Wazir,  the  Jewish  convert  Ibn  Killis 
(d. 380/990)  ;  and  even  at  a  later  period,  in  the  presence 
of  the  Wazir,  the  chief  Qadhi  could  not  be  addressed  as 
Chief  Qadhi  for  the  simple  reason  that  that  was  regarded  as 
a  fitting  title  only  of  the  Wazir7,  Maqrizi  expressly  states 
that  after  the  death  of  Ibn  Killis  'Aziz  appointed  no  other 
Wazir.  Nor  did  Hakim  either.  Only  in  the  5th/llth  cen- 
tury under  Zahir  was  this  office  resuscitated  under  the 
name  of  Wisatah  (a  channel  of  communication)8,  but  the 
people  did  not  make  any  refined  or  subtle  distinction.  The 
Christian  Yahya  ibn  Sa4id  living  about  the  year  400/1010, 
always  speaks  of  Wazirs. 

Under  the  princes  of  the  Empire  the  office  of  the 
Wazir  undergoes  a  change.  Of  the  old  Wazirs  of  the 
Empire,  Al-Fadl  ibn  Sahl  (Wazir  of  the  Caliph  Mamun) 

(1)  Wuz.,  239  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  713.  (2)  Arib,  58.  (3)  Ibn  al- 
Jauzi,  fpl.  75. 

(4)     Misk,  VI,  125  ;  Mas'udi,  Tanbih,  89.    (5)  Wuz.,  3. 

(6)  Maqrizi,  Ittiaz,  70.  (7)  Qalqashandi,  9  tr.  by  Wustenfeld  (A.G, 
G.  W.  1879),  185.  (8)  Khitat,  1.439. 


94  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

had  borne  the  title  of  Durri  Asatawi  (master  of  two  domi- 
nions), apparently  because  he  could  wield  both  the  pen  and 
the  sword',  but  the  military  aspect  was  not  emphasised 
or  brought  into  prominence.  A  clever  general,  Al-Hasan 
ibn  Makhlad,  was,  for  the  first  time  appointed  Wazir  or 
the  Caliph  al-Mu'tamid,  but  he  was  deposed  in  272/885s. 
On  the  other  hand  we  find  the  Wazirs  of  the  Samanids 
and  the  Buwayyids  active  alike  as  the  head  of  the  army 
and  as  the  chief  of  the  Chancery7.  Even  so  distinguished 
a  man  of  letters  as  Sahib  had  to  lead  an  expedition  when 
Wazir''. 

The  decline  in  the  dignity  of  the  Wazir,  like  the  dec- 
line in  morals,  is  amply  evidenced  by  the  fact  that  the 
irritable  Buwayyid  Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah  in  341/952  condemn- 
ed at  Baghdad  his  Wazir  Al-Muhallabi,  a  member  of  the 
Omayyad  aristocracy,  to  150  stripes  and  imprisonment5. 
But  this  indignity  notwithstanding,  he  took  him  back  as 
Wazir.  But  before  doing  so  he  first  enquired  whether  it 
was  possible  for  him  to  do  so  after  the  treatment  he  had 
meted  out  to  him  and,  to  his  entire  satisfaction,  he  found  a 
precedent  in  the  conduct  of  the  condottiere  Merdawaigh, 
who  had  his  Wazir  once  so  severely  beaten  that  he  could 
neither  walk  nor  sit  and  yet  he  placed  him  in  charge  of  the 
office  again.  In.  362/973  MVizz-ud-Dawlah's  unworthy  son 
appointed  a  Court  Chef  his  WazirG.  His  cousin,  the  Sultan 
Adad-ud-Dawlah,  had  his  Wazir,  Abu'l  Fath  Ibn  al-Amid 
arrested,  blinded  and  his  nose  cut  off.  Adad-ud-Dawlah 
compelled  his  cousin  to  have  his  Wazir,  the  former 
chef,  blinded  and  sent  to  him  for  conspiring  against 
him.  When  sent,  Adad-ud-Dawlah  had  him  taken  round 
the  camp  and  then  trampled  to  death  by  an  elephant. 
Under  orders  his  dead  body  was  impaled  on  Tigris 

(1)  Arib,  165.  (2)  Al-Pakhri  altogether  omits  Ibn  Makhlad  who  held 
office  between  Sulaiman  ibn  Wahb  and  Ibn  Bulbul  iMasudi,  VIII,  39 ;  Ta- 
bari,  III,  Index.)  The  statement  that  Ibn  Bulbul  united  'the  pen  and  the 
sword*  is  to  be  put  down  to  this  omission  of  Ibn  Bulbul's  predecessor.  More- 
over wo  do  not  hear  of  any  military  activities  of  Ibn  Bulbul ;  on  the  con- 
trary Tabari  III,  2110)  expressly  states  that  he  was  only  employed  in  tha 
chancery.  (3)  For  the  Samanids,  for  instance,  Mirkhond,  Hist,  of  the 
Sam.  Ed.  Wilkin,  72,84.  For  the  Wazirs  of  Muizz-ud-Dawlah,  Saimari 
and  Muhallabi,  Misk,  VI,  211,  434  ff  ;  for  Adad-ud-Dawlah,  Misk,  VI, 
451,  482  ;  for  the  Wazir  of  Baha-ud-Dawlah,  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  138.  (4) 
Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  39.  (5)  Misk,  VI,  190  ff ;  Ibn  al  Athir,  VIII,  375. 
(6)  His  duty  had  been  to  carry  food  on  his  shoulder,  covered  with  a 
towel,  and  to  taste  it  before  serving  it.  Misk  VI,  362  ;  396  ;  Ibn  al- 
Athir,  VIII,  462.  People  made  fun  of  him  saying  'from  plate  to  the 
Wizarat/  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  104  a.  (7)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  497. 


THE  HENAI8SANCE  OF  ISLAM  95 

Bridge *.  A  beautiful  elegy  was  penned  by  a  poet  over 
this  unfortunate  man,  who  to  be  sure  had  many  a  cruel 
act  to  his  credit : — 

As   the  Earth   was  but  too  narrow  to  gather  in  thy 

virtues 
They  made  air  thy  grave  and   wind  thy   shroud8* 

Adad-ud-Dawlah  introduced  two  innovations  into  the 
office  of  the  Wazir :  first,  he  appointed  two  Wazirs  simulta- 
neously; and  secondly,  of  the  two  one,  Ibn  Mansur  Nasr 
ibn  Harun,  was  ^  Christian.  Nasr  remained  as  Governor 
of  his  tribal  homeland,  Faris  ;  but  the  other  al-Mutahhar 
ibn  Abdallah  accompanied  him  to  Baghdad.  Al-Mutahhar 
was  a  proud  man  and  when  he  failed  to  sweep  the  Baby- 
lonian swamps  clear  of  the  robbers  who  infested  them,  he 
opened  up  the  arteries  in  his  two  arms  with  his  knife,  for 
he  preferred  to  die  rather  than  to  appear  before  his  master 
with  his  work  undone'3. 

His  successoi  merely  became  the  locum  te-nens  of  the 
Wazir,  who  resided  in  Shiraz.  But  this  experiment  was 
unsuccessful  as  the  two  constantly  collided  with  each 
other*.  Following  his  father's  example,  in  the  year 
382/992,  Baha-ud-J)awlah,  residing  in  Shiraz,  appointed 
two  Wazirs,  one  of  these  being  his  Governor  in  Babylon5. 
After  the  death  of  Sahib  (d.  384/994)  who,  for  a  long  time, 
held  the  wizarat  with  distinction,  a  disgraceful  bargaining 
for  this  post  began  in  Iran.  A  successor  was  chosen,  but 
as  another  high  officer  offered  eight  million  dirhams  for 
it,  whereas  the  one  already  chosen  had  offered  only  six  for 
his  retention  in  office,  the  prince  graciously  excused  two 
millions  to  each  of  the  rival  candidates  and  appointed  them 
both,-  with  the  result  that  ten  million  dirhams  made  their 
way  into  the  prince's  pocket.  '  They  jointly  issued  and 
signed,  orders ;  they  mutually  helped  each  other  in  suck- 
ing the  country  and,  in  the  event  of  a  war,  they  cast  lots 
as  to  who  should  lead  the  army.  But  this  position  of 
affairs  was  not  of  long  duration;  it  ended  by  one  getting 
the  other  assassinated6'.  And,  finally,  the  Christian 
Wazir  of  the  East  found  a  counterpart  in  Egypt.  In 


[1]  Misk  VI,  481 ;  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  Paris,  fol.  105  a ;  Ibn  al-Athir 
VIII,  507.  [2]  Ibn  al-Athir.  Thus  also  writes  Nadim  al-Arib  of 
Ahmed  Sa'id  ei-Baghdadi,  143  ;  Ibn  Taghribardi,  20.  [3]  Misk  VI, 
513  f;  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  Paris,  fol.  107  a;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  514.  [4] 
Misk  VI,  515  ;  Ibn  "al-Athir,  IX,  66.  [5]  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  66.  [6] 
Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,  71  ff. 


96  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

380/990  the  Fatimid  Caliph  Al-'Aziz  appointed  the  Christ- 
ian 'Isa,  son  of  Nestorious,  his  Wazir'. 

To  the  passion  for  titles,  evidencing  itself  about 
400-lOlQ,  even  the  Wazirs  fell  victims, — a  clear  proof  of 
the  degeneration  of  the  society  of  that  time.  In  411/1020 
the  Amir  of  Baghdad  conferred  upon  his  Wazir  the  princely 
prerogative  of  having  the  drum  beaten,  before  prayer 
time,  in  front  of  his  house.  He  also  designated  him  'the 
'great  Wazir'  (Wazir-al-Wuzara)\ 

At  Cairo  the  Caliph  Al-Hakim  soon  followed  the  ex- 
ample of  conferring  the  fateful  title  of  Wazir-al-Wuzara. 
The  historian  Hilal  as-Sabi  (d.  447/1055)  mournfully  refers 
to  it  as  one  of  the  pomposities  of  the  times'5*. 

In  416/1025  the  Wazir  at  Baghdad  simultaneously 
leceived  a  number  of  titles  :  Alam-ud-Din  (Insignia  of 
Keligion);  Sa'd-ud-Dawlah  (good  fortune  of  the  dynasty) ; 
Amin-al  Mulk  (Trusted  one  of  the  Empire);  Sharaf-al- 
Mulk  (glory  of  the  Empire)*.  This  was  a  prelude  to  the 
conditions  now  obtaining  in  the  Orient.  As  against  his 
titleless  predecessors,  the  title  bedecked  Wazir  was  a 
shadowy,  powerless  phantom. 

WAZIRS  IN  THE  4TH/10TH  CENTURY. 
Outstanding  is  the  figure  of  'AH  Ibn  al-Furat,  who  in 
296/909,  in  bis  fiftieth  year,  succeeded  his  brother  al- 
Abbas  as  Wazir.  He  was  immensely  rich.  His  contem- 
porary, the  historian  As-Suli5,  thus  speaks  of  him:  Never 
have  we  heard  of  a  Wazir  other  than  Ibn  al-Furat  who, 
while  in  office,  possessed  in  silver  and  gold,  in  movable  and 
immovable  property,  ten  million  dinars  (about  100  mil- 
lion marks)6'.  He  held  court  in  grand  style.  He  paid 
five  thousand  monthly  pensions,  varying  from  a  hundred 
dinars  to  five  dirhams7.  He  regularly  gave  away  twenty 
thousand  dirhams  every  year  in  stipends  to  poets ;  not 
counting  occasional  rewards  and  gifts  for  panegyrics8. 
Of  those  who  constantly  sat  at  his  table  nine  have  been 
mentioned  as  his  privy  councillors.  Of  these  four  were 
Christians.  For  two  long  hours  fresh  dishes  were  served9. 
For  his  underlings  he  kept  a  kitchen  large  enough  to  serve 
a  whole  regiment  of  troops  :  90  sheep,  30  goats,  200  fowls, 
200  partridges,  200  pigeons  were  daily  consumed.  Five 
bakers  baked  wheaten-bread  day  and  night ;  sweets  were 

[1]  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  112  f.  He  indeed,  did  not  officially 
bear  the  title  of  Wazir.  [2]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  168  ab.  [3]  Hakim  died 
411-1020.  Yabya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  128  a.  [4]  Wuz.,  201.  [5]  Ibn 
al-Jausi,  fol.  173  a,  [6]  Arib,  37.  [7]  Wuz.,  142.  [8]  Wuz.,  201. 
[9]  Wuz,  240. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  97 

always  in  preparation.  In  the  house  there  was  a  large 
drinkmg-hall  where  stood  a  capacious  cistern  of  cold 
water.  All  who  needed  found  drink  there  :  infantry, 
cavalry,  police,  clerks.  To  officers,  courtiers,  mil  servants, 
the  cup-bearers,  clothed  in  the  finest  embroidered  Egyptian 
linen,  with  towels  over  their  shoulders,  offered  sherbat1. 
His  palace  was  a  town  in  itself  ;  seven  of  his  tailors  had 
their  quarters  there.  On  the  walls  lay  hanging  rolls  of 
papyrus  for  the  use  of  applicants  and  complainants,  who 
thus  spared  the  trouble  of  buying  them3.  On  the  day  of 
his  investiture  wax  and  papyrus  rose  in  price  as,  to  every- 
one who  came  to  congratulate  him,  ho  gave  a  mansurian 
paper  roll  and  a  candle  ton  pounds  in  weight.  The  cup- 
bearer on  that  day  used  40,000  pounds  of  ice*.  Throughout 
his  Wizarat  he  kept  up  the  practice  of  presenting  a  candle 
to  all  who  left  his  palace  after  dusk.  In  311/923  he  estab- 
lished a  hospital  at  Baghdad  and  sanctioned  for  its 
maintenance  200  dinars  from  his  private  purse''. 

An  aristocrat  born  and  bred,  on  assuming  charge  of  his 
office,  with  his  own  hands  he  burnt  without  reading  a  list 
of  his  enemies  drawn  up  by  some  one  for  him5.  After  his 
deposition  he  would  rather  die  than  ransom  himself  with 
the  money  of  his  supporters'7.  When  the  director  of  taxes 
sent  on  an  order  of  his  which  looked  like  a  forgery,  and 
intimated  to  him  that  he  had  detained  the  bearer  in 
custody,  Ibn  al-Furat  wrote  back  (knowing  that  it  was 
forged)  that  it  was  genuine  for,  said  he,  '  one  whe  even  in 
Egypt  expected  something  good  by  the  use  of  his  name 
and  authority  was  not  to  be  put  to  shame7.  '  And  when 
the  fallen  Wazir  'Ali  ibn  'Isa  bowed  as  low  as  he  could 
before  him,  kissed  his  hand,  and  rose  even  in  the  presence 
of  his  young  ten -year-old  son,  Ibn  al-Furat  declared  that 
in  misfortune  his  lever  (meaning  his  cheerful  disposition) 
increased  like  that  of  a  -camel8.  By  long  service  he 
had  become  thoroughly  familiar  with  all  the  pranks  and 
tricks  of  the  official  life.  In  a  masterly  fashion  he  unra- 
velled the  tangled  financial  skein  of  the  Empire,  and  in 
more  ways  than  one  justified  his  successor's  glowing  tribute 
on  his  death  :  "Today  has  financial  skill  passed  away9." 
In  politics,  cool  and  calculated  was  the  old  Wazir's  judg- 
ment :  "At  bottom  to  rule  is  naught  but  a  game  of  chance, 


(1)  Wuz,,  195.  (2)  Wuz.,  176.  (3)  Wuz.,  63.  (4)  Ibn  al-Jaiazi, 
Berlin,  fol.  23.  (See  Custom  Intro,  to  the  History  of  Medicine,  pp.  208- 
10  Tr.  (5)  Wuz.,  119:  This  is  also  related  of  the  Caliph  Mamun. 
Tabari,  III.  1075.  (6)  Wuz.,  98.  (7)  Wuz.  113  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Mun- 
taxam,  fol,  28.  (8)  Wuz.,  307.  (9)  Wuisf,  283, 


08  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

a  piece  of  jugglery.  When  one  does  that  well,  it  is  called 
'Politics'."  Another  maxim  of  his  was  :  "In  matters  of 
government,  progress,  even  if  not  always -in  the  right 
direction,  is  preferable  to  standing-still."  And  yet-  an- 
other :  "If  you  can  fix  up  a  matter  with  the  librarian  or 
the  Secretary,  do  so,  without  bringing  it  up  before  the 
Wassir"1. 

And  yet  cold-bloodedly  he  plundered  the  treasury. 
Already  in  conspiracy  with  his  brother  he  largely  swindled 
the  State3. 

His  critics  recalled  the  fact  that,  when  his  property  • 
was  confiscated,  money-bags  were  found  bearing  the  seals 
of  the  master  of  the  privy-purse  of  the  Caliph'*.  One  of 
his  officers  tells  us  that  in  a  few  minutes  he  made  away 
with  70,000  dinars.  "  After  the  insurrection  of  Ibn-al- 
Mut'azz,  I  along  with  Ibn  al-Furat  fixed  the  main  items 
regarding  the  largesses  that  were  to  be  paid  to  the  troops 
and  made  arrangements  for  payment  thereof.  When 
Ibn  al-Furat  had  finished  with  this  business  he  got  into 
his  'Flyer'  and  proceeded  to  the  Mu'alli  river.  There 
he  called  a  halt.  The  crew  took  the  boat  to  the  bank 
and  he  thus  spoke  to  me  :  Order  the  treasurer  Abu 
Khorasan  to  bring  another  70,000  dinars  to  me  and  debit 
it  to  the  account  of  the  largesses/'  Thereupon  said  I  to 
myself  :  "Have  we  not  already  settled  all  the  items  ? 
What  is  this  additional  amount  for  ?"  but  indited 
what  ho  directed.  Then  he  signed,  handed  it  over  to  a 
servant  and  said :  "Leave  not  the  treasury  until  thou 
bringost  the  money  to  my  house."  He,  then,  proceeded 
on.  The  money  was  duly  brought  and  made  over  to  his 
Treasurer  *. 

His  former  companion  and  later  rival,  'Ali  ibn  'Isa, 
also  of  an  old  official  stock,  was  the  very  reverse  of  him5. 
Pious,  he  fasted  by  day  and  devoted  half  of  his  income  to 
pious  uses5.  In  contrast  to  Ibn  al-Furat,  even  towards 
the  Caliph  he  never  adopted  a  fixed  rule  of  behaviour7. 
To  the  philologist  al-Akbfash  at  a  full  audience  he  gave 
such  a  rough  and  rude  reply  that  the  c  world  became 
black  before  him  and  he  died  of  grief8.  'Ali  ibn  'Isa  was 
never  slovenly  in  dress.  He  took  his  shoes  off  only  in 
the  Harem  or  when  he  went  to  sleep*0.  He  worked  day  and 


[1]  Wnz.,  119.  [9]  Wnz.,  134.  [3]  Wuz.,  139.  [4]  Wuz.,  134. 
[5]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  76b.  [6]  His  contemporary  as-Suli  in  Suyn- 
ti's  Husnul-Muhadhera,  II,  126.  [7]  Wnz,,  3J2.  [8]  Yaqufc,  Irshad, 
V,  225.  [9]  Wuz,,  325, 


UENAlStiANCE  OF  ISLAM  99 

night1  and,  when  exhausted,  he  retired  to  a  recess  near  the 
door,  which  was  screened  off  by  a  curtain  and  where 
cushions  were  placed  to  enable  him  to  rest  before  resum- 
ing work3.  That  he  lost  his  sense  of  dignity  in  misfor- 
tune we  have  already  seen.  From  sheer  piety  he  proceed- 
ed against  Christian  officials'*,  and  from  pure  scruples 
he  would  not  let  his  sons  take  up  any  appointment  during 
his  term  of  office*.  He  sought  to  obviate  deficit  in  the 
budget  by  effecting  economy  ;  by  lowering  the  salaries 
of  guards  and  officers  ;  by  stopping,  among  other  things, 
the  usual  distribution  at  Court  or  to  officials  of  flesh  on 
the  Baqr-id  Day.  He  strove  to  prevent  embezzlement  of 
public  funds.  But  Ibn  al-Furat  taunted  him  by  saying 
that  he  concerned  himself  with  the  morals  of  the  people 
and  was  anxious  whether  the  geese  of  the  Baghdad  ponds 
were  not  cheated  out  of  their  food,  forgetting  the  most 
important  thing  of  all — the  abuse  of  public  revenues5. 
Another  officer  reckoned  that  the  Wazir,  in  one  hour,  got 
twenty  dinars  but  he  occupied  himself  with  tritles  which 
were  not  worth  the  money  he  received  in  pay0.  Not- 
withstanding this  pious  frame  of  mind,  he  lied  after  his 
fall  to  the  Caliph  in  stating  that  he  merely  possessed  3,000 
dinars.  It  was  immediately  shown  that  he  had  a  deposit 
of  17,000  elsewhere  and,  within  a  short  time,  lie  actually 
promised  to  pay  in  to  the  State  300,000  Dinars  :  \  within 
thirty  days  and  the  balance  later7. 

Later  he  was  reproached  for  having  sworn  that  his 
landed  property  was  only  worth  20,000  dinar,  whereas  it 
was  actually  worth  50,000,  and  this  discovery  to  *Ali 
"was  not  unlike  giving  him  a  stone  to  swallow"*.  Never 
were  his  hands  clean,  and  his  extreme  mildness  to  the 
two  financiers,  who  then  sucked  Syria  and  Egypt  dry, 
could  never  be  defended  or  justified''. 

Between  these  two  Wazirs  Mohamed  b.  Khaqan  acted 
for  two  long  years™.  He  belonged  to  the  circle  of  high 
court  nobility  ;  in  fact,  was  the  son  of  a  Wazir.  The 
verdict  on  him,  not  unlike  the  verdict  on  many  a  demo- 
cratic leader,  was  :  Careless  and  affable,  yet  mean  and 
cunning.  When  asked  for  a  favour  he  would  beat  his 
breast  and  say:  Yes,  with  great  pleasure!  This  habit 
won  for  him  the  name  of  the  ' breast-beater.1  He  was 
a  greater  favourite  of  the  people  than  of  the  nobility^. 

[1]   Arib,     130.     [2]    Wnz.,  325.    [3]     Wuz.,    95.   According   to   Bar 

Hebraeus  he  had  even  Christian  advisers  in  the  Ministry.   [4]   Wuz.,  266. 

[5]   Wuz.,   260  [6]  Wuz.,   351.     [7]   Wuz,   288.   [8]   Misk,  V,  19.  [9] 

Wuz.,  280.   [10]    Kit.   al-Wuzara,   Ed.  Amedroz,   [11]  Wuz.,  276.  p.  39 

Tr 


100  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

His  portrait  is  adorned,  now  with  harmless,  comical, 
now  with  poisonous  anecdotes,  originally  related  of  others. 
His  practice  was  to  appoint,  then  immediately  to  depose, 
and  then  again  to  reinstate  officers  and  this  not  because 
of  the  absence  of  a  sense  of  responsibility  on  his  part,  but 
rather  on  account  of  a  craving  to  secure  the  customary 
fee  for  appointments'. 

At  an  inn  at  Hulwan  seven  officers  are  reported  to 
have  met  who  were  appointed  to  one  and  the  same  office 
within  twenty  days  ;  at  Mosul  five2.  In  eleven  months  ho 
is  said  to  have  appointed  eleven  prefects  for  the  important 
district  of  Baduraya,  of  which  a  great  part  of  Baghdad 
formed  part. 

Thus,  at  the  beginning  of  the  century,  three  Wazirs 
stand  out  in  bold  relief,  each  wholly  different  from  the 
other,  the  common  feature  between  them  being  their 
rapacity  in  robbing  the  State-treasury. 

Because  he  did  not  belong  to  the  official  circle,  Hamid 
ibn-al-' Abbas,  who  became  Wazir  in  306/918,  constitutes 
a  great  exception  to  the  general  rale3.  He  began  life 
as  a  revenue-farmer  and  rose  steadily  to  fame  and  for- 
tune. He  was  more  than  eighty  when  he  assumed  the 
office  of  Wazir  but,  despite  his  elevation,  he  retained  his 
farming  lease.  As  he  was  quite  ignorant  of  Secretariat 
work  he  merely  bore  the  name  and  wore  the  uniform  of 
the  Wazir.  'Ali  ibn  'Isa,  the  former  Wazir,  really  did  the 
work.  Not  without,  reason  then  did  a  poet  satirize  him 
by  saying  :  We  have  a  Wazir  with  his  nurse*.  And  the 
people  called  one,  the  Wazir  without  the  official  robe, 
and  the  other,  the  official  robe  without  a  Wazir  inside 
it.  When  the  Caliph  felt  a  misgiving  that  'Ali  ibn  'Isa 
might  not  care  to  act  as  a  subordinate,  after  having  been 
the  chief,  the  former  revenue-farmer  rejoined  :  The 
clerk  is  not  unlike  a  tailor  who  now  makes  a  coat  for  10, 
and  now  for  1,000  dirhams.  The  clerical  staff  retaliated 
with  contempt.  And  when  he  addressed  his  fallen  pre- 
decessor in  coarse  language  the  latter  scornfully  replied  : 
"I  am  not  to  be  treated  like  a  farmer  at  the  weighinent 
of  his  corn."  He  displayed  a  luxury  characteristic  of  an 
upstart.  He  kept  1,700  chamberlains  (Ha jib)  and  400 
armed  mamluks.  The  crew  of  his  barge  consisted  of  white 
eunuchs,  the  most  expensive  to  employ. 

(1)  Contemporary  stories  about  him.  Al-Fakhri  Ed.  Ahlwardt  314. 
(2)  Wuz.,  263  ;  Fakhri,  313.  Kufa  grew  out  of  the  Persian  district  of 
Mah  el-Kufa.  (3)  Amedroz  Intro,  to  Wuz,  a  biographical  sketch,  p.  18. 
(4)  Kit.  al'uym,  IV,  95  a. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  101 

On  a  quarrel  with  the  black  court-eunuch,  Muflih,  he 
threatened  him  by  saying  that  he  had  a  good  mind  to 
purchase  100  black  eunuchs,  call  them  Muflih  and  make 
a  present  of  them  to  his  slaves'.  He  was,  indeed,  gener- 
ous. When  a  courtier  complained  to  him  that  he  had 
come  to  the  end  of  his  stock  of  barley  he  handed  over  an 
order  for  the  supply  of  100  kurr  of  barley  to  him  (a  kurr 
was  about  3,600  pounds).  For  his  kitchen  he  paid  200 
dinars  (about  2,  COO  marks)  a  day.  No  one  left  his  hou*e 
at  a  meal-  time  without  food;  even  the  viators'  servants 
were  provided  with  a  meal.  And  thus  many  a  time  40 
tables  were  laid.  He  made  a  gift  of  a  house  to  the 
Caliph  which  cost  him  100,000  dinars2.  While  on  a 
drive  he  once  saw  the  burnt-down  house  of  a  poor  man. 
He  forthwith  ordered  that  unless  it  was  rebuilt  by  the 
evening  he  would  be  most  unhappy  and  it  was,  accord- 
ingly, done  at  great  cost^. 

And  yet  he  shamelessly  speculate  in  corn,  stored 
it  away  in  his  barns  at  Babylon,  Khuzistan  and  Isfahan 
and  thereby  caused  a  serious  riot. 

Another  Ibn  Muqlah  (born  at  Baghdad  272/835  came 
from  humble  conditions  of  life''  :  in  his  sixteenth  year  he 
took  service  and  through  Ibn  al  Purat  rose  into  eminence5. 
In  the  school  of  the  latter  he  learnt  the  art  of  amassing 
wealth  within  a  few  years.  Under  the  first  three  Caliphs 
of  the  century  he  acted  as  Wazir  three  times,  and,  when 
Wazir,  built  a  magnificent  palace  on  the  most  valueable 
land  in  the  capital.  A  great  believer  in  astrology,  he 
gathered  astrologers  round  him  and,  upon  their  advice, 
laid  the  foundations  of  the  palace  after  sunset.  The  most 
notable  part  of  the  palace  was  the  fine,  laticed  garden 
where  only  palms  were  conspicuous  by  their  absence. 
There  birds  of  all  kinds  were  collected  together  ;  nor 
were  gazelles,  wild  cows,  wild  donkeys,  ostriches  and 
camels  absent.  He  made  all  kinds  of  breeding  experiments. 
When  it  was  reported  to  him  that  a  water-bird  had  mated 
with  a  land-bird  and  had  laid  eggs  he  gave  100  dinars  to 
the  informant0'.  A  daring  intriguer  was  he,  and  to  his 
intrigues  is  ascribed  the  deposition  of  the  Caliph  al- 
Qahir  (322/034).7  He  incited  the  Caliph  and  the  general 
Bejkern  against  the  then  real  ruler  of  Baghdad,  Ibn  Eaiq, 


v  H  l[lalJauzi,  fol.  19  a.  [3]  Ibn 
Jattzi,  26.  ab  [4]  When  he  had  become  Wazir,  a  friend  of  his  earlier 
days,  the  poet  Jahiz,  reminded  him  of  times  when  '  'bread  was  still 
coarse  and  there  was  no  horse  at  the  door  or  a  barge  on  the  bank." 
Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  64b.  [5]  Kit.  al-uyim  VI,  fol.  77a.  (6)  Ibn  al-Jauzi, 
fol.  64  ab.  (7)  Misk.  V,  447. 


102  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM. 

who  had  confiscated  his  property7.  But  the  Caliph 
played  him  false  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  he  had  fixed  the 
interview  in  consultation  with  the  astrologers3,  and  as 
punishment  his  iright  hand  was  cut  off'7.  This  was  all  the 
more  cruel  as  Ibn  Muqlah  was  one  of  the  most  renowned 
calligrapers  of  all  times,  and  the  chief  founder  of  the 
new  Arabic  script  which  for  centuries  continued  in  use4. 
But  he,  instead  of  using  the  left  hand,  tied  a  reed-pen  to 
his  right  arm,  and  thus  wrote  on5.  But  the  punishment 
had  no  deterrent  effect  upon  him.  He  went  his  way  in- 
citing and  reviling  as  before.  Three  years  later  his 
tongue  was  cut  out.  He  died  in  custody  and  the  chroniclers 
describe  how  he,  who  once  was  a  powerful  man,  fond  of 
show  and  splendour,  held  the  string  at  the  well  with  his 
mouth  while  he  emptied  the  bucket0'. 

Another  Wazir  drank  at  night  and  had  the  usual  next 
morning  headache.  Even  the  opening  of  the  correspond- 
ence he  made  over  to  different  officers,  and  committed 
the  charge  of  most  important  affairs  to  Abu  Faragh  Isra'il, 
a  Christian.  Everything  that  he  did  was  with  a  view  to 
extort  money  (Misk.,  V,  247). 

About  the  middle  of  the  century  Abu  Muhammad  al- 
Hasan  al-Muhallabi  acted  with  great  success  as  Wazir 
in  Babylonia.  He  was  descended  from  an  old  Islamic 
noble  line,  the  family  of  Muhallab  ibn  Abi  Sufra7.  His 
ancestral-home  was  Basra,  where  in  the  3rd/9th  century 
they  still  owned  magnificent  houses8.  To  the  later 
Wazir  things  were  very  hard  at  beginning.  At  one 
time  he  had  not  even  enough  money  to  purchase  meat 
for  his  journey.  A  friend  advanced  him  the  money  and 
later  received  750  dirhams  from  hinr°.  As  Wazir  he  held 
possession  of  Baghdad  (in  the  fateful  year  (334/946), 
until  Mu'izz-ud-Uawlah's  entry  there7".  In  326/938  we 
find  him  first  as  deputy  (wali)  to  the  finance  minister,  Abu 
Zakariyya  as-Susi'7 ;  then  as  deputy  to  the  Wazir,  from 
whose  jealousy  he  had  much  to  suffer  later  on/2.  After 
the  death  of  the  wazir  in  339/950  Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah  made 
him  his  '  secretary  :'  six  years  later  he  received  the  title 

(1)  Kit.al-Uyun.  IV,  157  a.  (2j  Ibid,  b.  \3)  Ibid  160  b.  161  b. 
The  physician  Thabit  describes  how  he  found  the  arm  after  it  had  cut  off. 
Misk/V,  581.  (4)  The  library  of  Adad-nd-Dawlah  at  Shiraz  possessed  a 
Quarn  in  30  vols.  copied  by  him,  Yaqut,  Irxhad,  V,  446.  (C)  KH.a'-Uyun 

IV,  162  a.     (6)    Ibid,  fol.  162  a.     (7)    Yat.  II,  8.     (8)    Thalibi,  Kit.  al- 
Mirwah,  129  b.     (9)    al-Hamawi,    Tamarat  al-auraq,  1,82.      (W)    Misk 

V,  121     (11)  Misk,  V,  575.     (12)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  III,  180. 


THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  103 

of  Wazir'.     His   friend   al-Isfahani,   author    of  the  great 
"Book  of  Songs,"  applauds  only   his  virtues   as   'secretary2' 
but      he    was     also     an   efficient    general,     as    for    ins- 
tance, with   great   courage  he  repelled   the   attack  of  the 
Yamanite  Arabs   against   Basrah     He  died  cm  a  campaign 
undertaken   for  the    conquest    of   Oman  in  352/963,  after 
holding   for  13  years   the   highest   official  position   in    the 
State.     He  genuinely  cared  for  order  ;  he  restored  the  older 
and  the    juster    system    of  taxation  ;    he  caused  the  hajib 
of  the    chief    Qadhi   to  be  almost   whipped   to    death    for 
molesting   women   who    came   to   the   Judge   for   justice*. 
But  the  low  cunning   with   which    he   traced   the  property 
of    deceased   officers   excites     our  disgust,   though     such 
conduct  was  not   deemed  derogatory     even   to  the  dignity 
of   Caliphs    and    Amirs,    and   Miskawaihi  refer   to  it  with 
admiration5.     On    the    other  hand    people    were   shocked 
at    Mucizz-ud-Dawlah  for  confiscating   Muhallabi' s  entire 
property  immediately  after  his  death   and  extorting  money 
from    all   connected  with    him,  down  to   his  boatmen.     In 
Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah,   Muhallabi    had  a     hard   task-master6. 
On  one  occasion,   under  his   orders,  150   stripes  were  ad- 
ministered  to  him.     Nor  did   Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah  treat   his 
Turkish     marshal    Subuktagin     any     better,    though     he 
enjoyed     his    complete    confidence7.      But,   all  this  not- 
withstanding,  Muhallabi,    in   matters   of  importance,   did 
exercise   great   influence;     He   prevailed   upon   Mu'izz-ud- 
Dawlah  to    retain    Baghdad  as  his  residence  add   even   to 
build   his     famous     palace   there8.     The   members   of  his 
round  table  were  the  most  renowned   scholars  and  authors 
of    the    day0.     At     these    gatherings    wine  and    pleasure 
recklessly  rioted.     Even  Miskawaihi,   in  his  cold  and  brief 
portraiture    of  the    Wazir,  speaks     of    his    generosity70. 
Once   Muhallabi  was   presented   with  a  beautiful   inkstand 
set  with  precious  stones.     Officers  talked  in  whispers  about 
it.     One    thought    he    could    make  very  good  use  of  it   by 
selling  it   and   living  on   the  proceeds   of  its   sale,   while 
Muhallabi    might    go    to     the   devil.       Hearing    of  this, 
Muhallabi    presented    the  inkstand  to    him".     The  Qadhi 
At  Tanukhi  thankfully  relates  how  he    graciously  sent    for 
him,    the  young    son  of  an    old    companion,  and  provided 

[1]  '  Misk,  VI,  214.     [2]  Yat,  II,  278. 

[3]  Misk,  VI,  190.  [Vol,  IV,  393  ;  Vol.  V.  304,  330  Eng.  far.] 
[4]  Misk,  VI,  168  ff.  [Eng.  tr.  Vol.  V,  pp.  199—200  ;  See  also  pp. 
128  et.  Sqq.  specially  pp.  150—138  ;  character  of  Muhallabi,  pp.  153  et 
Sqq.  Tr.].  [5]  Misk,  V,  244.  [6]  Misk,  VI,  248.  [7]  Misk,  VI,  258. 
[8]  Misk,  VI,  241.  [9]  Misk?  VI,  242.  [10]  Misk,  VI,  166.  [11]  Ibn 
si  fol.  91  b, 


104  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

him  with  a  judicial  sinecure,  and  showed  his  esteem  for 
him  in  the  presence  of  the  chief  Qadhi,  an  old  enemy  of 
his  father,  by  talking  seemingly  seriously  in  a  low  voice 
to  him,  on  a  solemn  occasion,  as  if  he  was  discussing  some 
State  secret.  "The  next  morning  the  chief  Qadhi  almost 
carried  him  on  his  head7." 

The  most  famous  Wazir,  at  the  end  of  the  century, 
waa  Ibn  Abbad,  in  Rai,  surnamed  the  'Sahib'2,  Chancellor 
of  the  Iranian  Buwayyids  (b.  326/928,  d.  385/995).  From 
a  schoolmaster  he  rose  to  a  royal  position.  The 
young  prince,  for  whom  he  secured  the  empire,  yielded  to 
him  in  everything  and  honoured  him  in  every  conceivable 
manner1.  On  his  death  he  was  mourned  like  a  prince7'. 
He  was  fired  with  great  literary  ambition.  His  pane- 
gyrists compared  him  to  Harun  al-Rashid.  Like  him, 
he  gathered  the  best  intellects  round  him.  With  masters 
of  Baghdadian  and  Syrian  literature  such  as  ar-Radhi, 
as-Sabi,  Ibn  al-Hajjaj,  Ibn  Sukkera,  Ibn  Nubata  he  cor- 
responded5. Of  theological  works  alone  he  possessed  400 
camel-loads  and  yet  he  was  reproached  for  knowing 
nothing  of  theology6.  True  lie  devoted  himself  more  to 
such  studies  as  Logic,  Mathematics,  Music,  Astronomy, 
Medicine  ;  he  even  wrote  a  medical  treatise7.  He  could 
not  afford  to  be  as  generous  towards  men  of  letters  as  is 
related  of  the  earlier  patrons  of  poets.  He  generally 
gave  100  to  500  dirhams  and  a  dress,  and  only  rarely 
1,000  dirhams8.  He  particularly  liked,  and  made  gifts  of, 
light  silk<0.  His  staff,  accordingly,  dressed  mostly  in 
multi-coloured  silk.  The  poet  az-Zafrani  once  asked 
Sahib  for  a  floral  silk-dress  such  as  he  had  seen  his  staff  use. 
The  Wazir  replied  :  "  I  have  heard  of  Ma4n  ibn  Zaida 
that  a  man  said  to  him  :  Give  me  an  animal  to  ride,  O 
Prince!  He  is  reported,  thereupon,  to  have  given  him  a 
camel,  a  horse,  a  mule,  a  donkey  and  a  slave-girl,  saying  : 
"If  I  but  knew  another  animal  for  riding  purposes  in 
God's  creation  I  would  assuredly  have  given  even  that 
to  you."  And  so  we  now  present  unto  thee  Jubba,  shirt 

[1]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  VI,  253  ff.  [2]  He  was  the  first  to  bear 
the  title  of  'Sahib*  [  Taghribardi,  56  ].  About  400/1010  the  'Amid  el- 
Juyush'  is  so  called.  (Diwan  ar-Radhi,  I,  231).  Later  every  Wazir 
and,  in  our  time  dregs  of  society,  such  as  publicans  and  butcher's  boys, 
are  so  called.  Taghribardi,  56. 

[3]  Yaqut,  IrsJiad,  II,  273.  [4]  Taghribardi,  57.  [5]  Yaqut,  III, 
32.  [6]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  274.  315  [7]  Yaqut,  III,  42  ff.  [8]  Yaqut, 
Irshad,  II,  304  ;  Yaqut,  Irshad,  VI,  276.  The  poet  al-Maghrabi 
be<*s  500  dinars  of  him  but  Ibn  Abbad  tells  him  :  be  merciful  and  make 
it  500  dirhams.  [9]  Yat.  Ill,  33 ;  Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  320?  III,  34. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  105 

and  coat,  trousers,  turban,  handkerchief,  a  wrapper,  a 
mantle  and  socks  of  floral  silk.  Hiad  we  but  known  of 
another  wearing  apparel  which  could  be  made  of  floral 
silk  we  would  -have  presented  that  also  unto  you*. 

It  was  Sahib's  misfortune  to  have  incurred  the  dis- 
pleasure of  the  sharpest  tongue  of  his  time.  We  have  the 
laudatory  letter  which  Abu  Hayyan  al-Tauhidi  addressed 
to  him  at  the  beginning  of  their  correspondence  ;  a  corres- 
pondence which  ended  with  vituperative  effusions.  Vivid, 
striking,  it  is  a  perfect  model  of  the  masterly  Arabic  diction 
of  the  century. 

The  portrait  of  the  Wazir  Ibn  al-Amid  (d.  369/971), 
painted  by  Miskawaihi,  who  for  many  years  was  his 
librarian,  leaves  a  powerful  impression  behind.  Tauhidi 
ridicules  the  historian  by  saying  that  his  misfortune  was 
that  he  constantly  uses  expressions  such  as  "Muhallabi 
has  said,"  "Ibn  al-Amid  has  said,"  and  so  on  until 
the  reader  wearies  of  them.  To  begin  with  Miskawaihi 
applauds  his  memory3 :  "Several  times  he  told  me  that 
in  his  young  days  he  used  to  bet  his  comrades  and  the 
scholars  with  whom  he  associated  that  he  would  commit 
to  memory  a  thousand  lines  in  one  day  ;  and  he  was  far 
too  earnest  and  dignified  a  man  to  exaggerate.  In  ad- 
dition he  was  sole  master  of  the  secrets  of  certain  obscure 
sciences  which  no  one  professes,  such  as  mechanics, 
requiring  the  most  abstruse  knowledge  of  geometry,  and 
physics,  the  science  of  abnormal  motions,  the  dragging 
of  heavy  weights,  and  of  centres  of  gravity,  including  the 
execution  of  many  operations  which  the  ancients  found 
impossible,  the  fabrication  of  wonderful  engines  for  the 
storming  of  fortresses,  stratagems  against  strongholds  and 
stratagems  in  campaigns,  the  adoption  of  wonderful 
weapons,  such  as  arrows  which  could  permeate  a  vast 
space,  and  produce  remarkable  effects,  mirrors  which 
burned  a  very  long  way  off.  He  could,  for  his  amusement, 
scratch  the  form  of  a  face  on  an  apple  in  an  hour — a  face 
so  fine  that  another  could  not  do  it  with  all  the  appropriate 
instruments  in  a  number  of  days.  His  letter  to  Ibn 
Hamdan  has  been  preserved.  It  speaks  of  the  decay  and 
the  building-up  of  the  Province  of  Pars5  and  is  one  from 
which  it  is  possible  to  learn  the  whole  duty  of  a  Wazir. 
He  was  the  preceptor  of  Adad-ud-Dawlah,  the  most 

(1)  Yaqut,  (2)  Miskawaihi  (Bng.  tr.  by  Prof.  Margoliouth,  Vol. 
V.,  295  Tr.)  (3)  Ibid,  p.  298.  Here  Miskawaihi  speaks  of  Ibn  Amid's 
difficulty  in  establishing  a  reign  of  justice, 


106  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

efficient  ruler  of  that  century  and  Adad-ud-Dawlah 
never  referred  to  him  as  his  master'.  Ibn  Amid  even 
headed  the  army  in  the  field  but  on  account  of  gout  he 
had  to  be  carried  in  a  litter.  He  modestly  listened  to  those 
who  expounded  a  subject  and  not  perhaps  till  months 
or  even  years  after  would  he  show  himself  at  a  discussion 
a  thorough  master  of  it.  Exceedingly  difficult  was  his 
position  between  a  prince  who,  though  ruling  his  soldiery 
by  lavish  liberality,  had  nothing  to  give  for  useful  adminis- 
trative purposes  and  the  Dailamite  tribesmen  intent  on 
exploiting  the  subjects.  But  despite  difficulties  the 
Wazir  restored  order  and  Miskawaihi  reports  that  ho 
even  put  the  leaders  of  the  army  in  such  fear  that  they 
trembled  when  they  saw  him  in  a  reproaching  mood. 
c  This  I  have  often  seen  '  says  the  historian.  But  he  was 
aware  of  the  envious  temper  of  the  Dailamites  and  he 
knew  that  they  could  only  be  ruled  by  simple  and  un- 
ostentatious methods.  But  when  his  son  began  to 
spend  money  freely  and  enter  into  rivalry  with  the 
Dailamite  magnates,  inviting  them  to  games,  to  hunting 
expeditions,  to  dinners  and  drinks,  the  father  foresaw 
the  shipwreck  of  his  house  and  died  of  suppressed  grief. 

(1)  Ibid,  p.  302. 


VIII.    FINANCES. 

ALTHOUGH  the  Muslim  legislation  on  the  subject  of 
taxation  seems  clear  and  simple  enough  in  the  works  of 
theorists  from  Abu  Yusuf  to  Mawardi  and  in  the  collec- 
tion of  Traditions,  it  was  in  reality  complicated,  diverse, 
and  difficult.  The  contrast  between  the  systems  of  finance 
in  the  provinces  which  were  formerly  Byzantine  and  Per- 
sian respectively  is  not  done  away  with ;  further  in  pre- 
Arab  times  there  was  a  difference  between  the  systems  of 
taxation  current  in  Syria,  Egypt  and  North  Africa  just 
as  there  was  between  the  Babylonian,  Khorasanian  and 
South  Persian  systems. 

Only  those  taxes  which  were  purely  Islamic  were 
consistently  maintained  in  the  whole  Empire  :  the  poll-tax 
paid  by  Christians  and  Jews  and  the  alms  paid  by  Believers. 
These  were  calculated  by  the  month,  as  was  also  the  case 
with  the  rents  on  hereditary  tenements,  on  mills  and  city 
sites,  etc.,  etc.,  and  the  monthly  payments  in  all  these 
cases  followed  the  lunar  year.  Actually,  the  lunar 
Calendar  was  only  followed  in  their  exaction  in  those  great 
cities  which  were  less  dependent  on  the  harvest.  Taxes 
in  the  country  had  to  be  arranged  to  suit  the  needs  of  the 
cultivator,  and  his  sowing  and  harvest,  which  involved 
the  solar  year*.  This  solar  year  was  the  Coptic  and 
Syrian  in  the  portion  of  the 'empire  which  had  formerly 
been  Greek,  the  Persian  in  the  East.  In  the  latter  the 
collection  of  taxes  started  with  the  new  year2.  This  was 
natural  in  the  earliest  period,  when  the  new  year  began 
with  the  summer  solstice  which  was  harvest-time3. 
At  our  period  it  started  at  the  commencement  of  spring, 
before  harvest,  hence  the  Caliphs  in  the  3rd/9th  century 

(1)  Maqrizi,   Kliitat,   1,273,  who  here  draws  upon  a  special  work, 
thfi  history  of  al-Mut'adid  by  'Abdullah  ibn  Ahmad  ibn  Abi  Tahir. 

(2)  In  the  further  East,  Afghanistan  and  Transoxiana,  the  land- 
tax  was  levied   in  two  annual  intalments.     Ibn  Hakal,  1,808,  341, 

(3)  Al-Bimni   chron.  p.  216. 


108  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

at  times  endeavoured  to  institute  at  different  fiscal  New 
Year.  Mutawakkil  fixed  it  for  June  17th  in  243/857, 
but  died  before  making  his  innovation  effective.  It  is 
asserted  that  the  Caliph  al-Mut'adid  noticed  when  hunting 
that  the  corn  was  still  quite  green,  while  the  officials 
were  already  trying  to  collect  the  taxes.  Consequently 
in  281/894  he  enacted  that  the  fiscal  year  should  commence 
on  July  llth,  and  at  the  same  time  had  the  different  calen- 
dars of  the  fiscal  bureaux  harmonized.  The  East  had  to 
adapt  itself  to  the  West.  Whereas  the  Persian  calendar 
intercalated  a  month  after  every  120  years  the  Caliph 
enacted  that  a  day  should  be  intercalated  after  every  four 
years  according  to  the  Greek  and  Syrian  sy stems *. 
Since,  however,  on  religious  grounds  the  lunar  year  could 
not  be  abolished;  there  were  now  two  concurrent  years  of 
different  lengths,  which  occasioned  serious  confusion ;  for 
instance,  the  lunar  yeai  (as-saviatu'l  liillaliyali)  300  was 
distinguished  from  the  fiscal  year  (assanatu'l  Kharajiyah) 
300,  and  since  the  two  years  ultimately  synchronised  so 
little  "  that  the  fiscal  year  called  300  came  after  a  lunar 
year  which  had  already  passed,  and  as  it  was  improper 
to  attach  a  thirteenth  month  to  a  lunar  year,  since  then  the 
sacred  months  would  be  displaced,  and  as  the  taxes  of  a 
whole  year  would  have  been  lost "  it  was  decided  in  the 
year  350/961  to  drop  a  fiscal  year  once  in  32  years,  and  so 
harmonize  to  a  certain  extent  between  the  two  methods 
of  calculation.  The  fiscal  year  350  was  immcdiately/e- 
named  351.  The  enactment  worked  out  by  Sabi  is  pre- 
served2. 

Another  peculiarity  of  the  Muslim  financial  system  was 
that  the  Provincial  tax-offices  served  as  State-treasuries. 
Out  of  the  revenues  the  ordinary  expenses  were  defrayed 
and  soldiers  paid,  the  balance  only  being  remitted  to  the 

central      treasury5.       Thus  the  money  remitted  to    the 
___^__^._  ^  _^_______ 

Rasa'il  es-Sabi,  213. 

(2)  Rasa'il  es-Sabi,  209  ff:Maqrizi,  1,277  Prof.  Margoliouth 
writes  to  me :  The  words  "die  monatsjahressteucrn  zu  kurz  gekcmmen 
war  en "  [in  Mez]  are  far  from  clear.  Suppose  lunar  year  300  to  end 
when  fiscal  year  800  begins.  If  we  make  them  synchronize  by  adding  a 
month  to  lunar  year  300,  so  that  they  coincide  for  one  month,  the  dues 
for  that  one  month  will  be  liable  to  be  paid,  for  the  whole  year  300.  It 
does  not  seem  to  me  that  the  expedient  resorted  to  avoided  that  diffi- 
culty. Tr. 

(3;  Misk,  V,  193:  Al-Faragh  1,51:  Ibn  Hakal,  128:  Mafatihu 
'ulum,  54.  Even  in  the  provinces  of  the  Byzantine  Empire  the  prefect 
defrayed,  directed  out  of  the  revenue,  the  expenses  of  the  province.  The 
practice,  among  the  Omayyads,  is  said  to  have  been  for  the  carrier  of 


THE  BENAtSSANCE  Of  ISLAM  10d 

central  treasury  was  only  meant  for  the  court,  the  garrison 
of  the  capital,  tha  ministries,  and  the  East  of  Baghdad, 
belonging,  according  to  Law,  to  Court.  The  western  por- 
tion, that  is  to  say  the  real  town  itself,  formed  part  of  the 
district  of  Baduriya*. 

The  Khawarazmi  introduces  us  to  the  system  of  book- 
keeping obtaining  in  a  Khorasanian  Customs-office  in  the 
4th/10th  century3.  We  find  there  : — 

The  amount  of  assessed  taxes  (QanunV,  the 
amount  paid  by  each  tax-payer  on  account  of 
the  tax  assessed,  the  journal  containing  daily 
income  and  expenditure,  the  amounts  totalled 
up  at  -the  end  of  every  month.  The  yearly 
account :  this  was  a  register  in  which  amounts 
paid  in  were  systematically  entered  for  easy 
reference.  The  statements  were  shown  in 
three  columns  :  first,  the  amount  taxed  ; 
second,  the  amount  actually  collected  ;  and 
third  the  difference  between  the  two.  In 
most  cases  the  amount  jpaid  in  was  less  than 
the  amount  assessed.  The  quittance  receipt 
for  the  tax.  Final  settlement.  Release. 

Wo  possess  the  Imperial  Budget  of  the  year  306/918. 
It  is  based  upon  the  statement  of  accounts  of  the  year 
303.  Similar  to  what  we  find  in  the  books  of  individual 
tax-officers,  here,  too,  revenues  are  set  against  expenses  ; 
and  expenses,  exactly  as  with  us,  are  divided  into  ordinary 
and  extraordinary  expenses.  And,  as  is  frequently  the 
case  with  us,  it  closes  witli  a  deficit.  Therein  the  taxes 
of  Babylonia,  Khuzistan,  Faris,  and  Iran  are  shown  only 
in  current  coin  ;  whereas,  even  up  to  269/873,  payment  of 
taxes  is  shown  both  in  coin  and  in  kind.  This  indicates  a 
distinct  progress  in  the  financial  administration  of  the 
Eastern  part  of  the  Empire.  In  the  Syrian  and  Meso- 
potamian  provinces,  on  the  other  hand,  taxes  were  yet 


taxes  to  be  accompanied  by  ten  men  from  the  particular  province  who 
swore  before  the  Caliph  that  nothing  but  what  was  permissible  had 
been  taken  and  the  soldiers  and  all,  entitled  to  be  paid,  have  been 
paid.  Ajbar  Makhmua,  22  ff:  Abulfoyyad,  according  to  Simonet 
Hist,  de  los  Mozarbes,  158.  In  all  statements  in  the  budget  and  rent- 
rolls  the  actual  amount  must  be  understood.  [1]  Wuz,  11  ff.  [Guy  Le 
Strange,  Baghdad,  1  p.  51,315.— Tr.]  [2]  Mafatihu'llUlum>  54.  [3]  In 
the  post-Diocletian  period  Qanun  is  the  common  term  for  regular  taxes. 
Wilken,  Clriech,  Ostraka,  378. 


110  THE  ItENAlSSANCE  OJ<  ISLAM 

assessed  both  in  kind  and  current  coin7.  The  steady 
growth  of  the  practice  of  noting  down  taxes  in  current 
coin  only  and  the  consequent  disappearance  of  the  earlier 
picturesque  customs  made  the  accounts  simple  and  uniform 
and,  at  the  same  time,  strikingly  different  from  tha  diversi- 
fied tax-list  of  the  western  countries  during  the  Middle 
Ages. 

Only  of  the  town  of  Asbigah  in  Turkistan,  on  the 
extreme  frontier  of  the  empire,  it  is  reported  that  it  sent 
in  an  annual  Khiraj  (land-tax,)  of  four  copper  coins  and 
a  broom*.  About  the  year  300/912  it  became  customary 
to  send  in  with  the  tribute  and  the  taxes  some  curios  to 
the  Court.  In  299/911  with  the  Egyptian  revenue, 
came  a  he-goat  with  milking  udder'  ;  in  301/913  from 
'Oman  a  white  parrot  and  a  black  gazelle  *  ;  and  in 
305/917  again  from  'Oman  black  antelopes  and  a  black 
bird  which  spoke  Persian  and  Indian  languages  better 
than  any  parrot5. 

An  important  form  of  landed  property  throughout 
the  Empire  was  the  fief  (Iqta)0'.  Both  in  the  East  and 
the  West  it  was  of  ancient  origin.  Abu  Yusuf7,  writing 
expressly  about  the  East,  says  :  the  hereditary  lease  (the 
fief)  is  a  Persian  institution.  In  the  West  it  is  a  Eornan 
institution.  In  this  way  here,  as  in  the  East,  the  crown- 
lands  and  agri  deserti  passed  from  the  government  to  the 
private  individual8.  The  tax,  payable  by  the  tenant, 
was  determined  by  the  individual  contract  but,  according 
to  the  theorists,  tenants  only  paid  a  tenth  of  the  pro- 
ceeds'9. They,  indeed,  were  not  better  off  than  the  ordinary 

(1)  Kremer,  Einnahmcbudgct  dcr  Abbasiden,  309,  323 ;  Qodamah, 
239:  Wuz,  189.  (2)  Muq,  340.  This  statement  is  confirmed  by  Yaqut, 
(Geography  1,249,),  according  to  which  Asbigah  is  the  only  town  in  Kho- 
rasan  and  Transoxiana  which  paid  no  khiraj,  for  as  the  greatest  frontier- 
town  it  needed  its  revenue  for  military  purposes.  (3)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin 
fol.  6a.  (4)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  9a.  (5)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  15  b.  (6)  Aghnides 
Intro,  to  3fo/i.  Law  (Columbia  University,  1916)  pp.  484  sqq.  Tr.  (7)  Kit. 
al-Khiraj,  32.  Along  with  this  there  was  the  lease  for  life  but  of  this 
there  is  very  little  talk  (Mafatihu'l-'Ulum,  460).  (8)  Becker,  ZA  1905, 
301  ff.  (9)  Qodamah,  Paris,  fol.  90a:  Tenth-land  is  of  six  kinds:  (a) 
Lands,  whose  owners  have  become  Muslims  and  who  are  still  in  posses- 
sion thereof.  Such  as  is  the  case  in  Yaman,  Medinah  and  Taif.  (b)  Waste- 
land cultivated  by  the  faithful,  (c)  Fiefs,  (d)  The  quondam  enemy  land 
distributed  by  the  Caliph  among  the  faithful,  (e)  The  quondam  Persian 
crownlands.  (  /)  Lands,  (as  is  the  case  in  military  frontiers)  abandoned 
by  the  enemy  and  occupied  by  the  faithful.  Along  with  the  Diwan 
el-Khiraj  there  was  a  special  Tax-office  for  manorial  estates  (Diwan  ad- 
diya).  Khuda  Bukhsh,  orient  under  the  Caliphs,  p.  235  et  sqq. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  111 

landholders.     In  a  work  of  the  4th/10th   century  an  anec- 
dote    is     related     which     runs   thus.      Hurun    al-Rashid 
expressed  a  wish   to   invest   his   physician   with  a  fief   but 
the  latter  begged  for  money  instead  to  buy   land,  urging 
that  he   had   no   fief  in   his   landed   possessions.'     There 
was,  indeed,  a  large  number  of  cases   where  it  was  argued 
whether  the  land  in   dispute   was   a  fief   or  an   ordinary 
taxable  landed  property  ;  the  landholders   maintaining  the 
former,   the   tax-officers   urging   the   latter2.       By   confis- 
cation or   abandonment — the   latter   was   oftener  the   case 
on  account  of  heavy   taxation — fiefs   constantlv   escheated 
to  Government.     Thus,   under  the  Safarids,   in  the  3rd/9th 
century  so  many  land-owners,  liable   to   taxes,   emigrated 
from   Fars  that  the  then  Government  felt  itself  constrained 
to  realize   the  entire  amount  of  the  taxes  from  those   who 
had  remained  behind.     This  cumulation   of  taxes   weighed 
heavily  upon    the   couniry.     When   the   province  reverted 
to  the  Empire,  a  Persian  deputation   went   to   the   Caliph 
at   Baghdad   (303/915)   praying  for   the  discontinuance  of 
the   practice   of  exacting  cumulated   taxes  (takmilah) :  in 
other  words  the  practice  of  making  up  the  deficit    of   taxes 
from  those  that   still   retained   lands1'.     In    the  East   this 
practice   appears   to    have    been     somewhat     exceptional. 
In  Egypt,  on  the  other  hand,  the  liability  of   the   commu- 
nity to  pay  the  taxes  due  from  those  that  had  left  was  the 
rule.     In  Mesopotamia  this  rule  applied   only   to  the  capi- 
tation-tax.    In  France  the   responsibility  of   the   commu- 
nity  for   taxes  was  only  done  away  with  shortly  before  the 
Eevolution ;  in  Eussia  not  until  1906. 

The  Government,  indeed,  retained  other  lands  in  its 
direct  possession  as  crown  lands  (Diya  SultaniyyaJi). 
In  prosperous  times  crown  lands  were  augmented  by  pur- 
chase of  other  lands'7  but  in  times  of  stress  the  very 
opposite  was  the  case.  In  323/935  the  government  had 
to  sell  some  crown  lands  to  pay  back  a  loan5.  When 
the  Government  was  weak,  these  crown  lands  were  always 
in  danger  of  being  absorbed  by  neighbouring  landed 
proprietors6. 

To  escape  the  burden  of  taxation  smaller  landlords 
were  wont  to  hold  lands  in  the  names  of  the  more  powerful 
ones.  The  result  was  that  these  lands  appeared  in  the 
names  of  the  latter  and,  instead  of  the  land-tax,  paid  only 

(1)  Kit  alfaragh,  II.  103.  (2J  Wuz.  220.  (3)  Wuz,  340  ff :  Kit.  al- 
*Uyunt  fol.  81  a.  (4)  Qodamah,  241,  (5)  Misk,  V,  505.  (6)  Wuz,  134 : 
fit.  al-Faragh,  1,  60. 


112  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

the  tenth  due  from  fiefs/  The  possession,  indeed, 
remained  with  the  actual  owners  who  were  at  liberty  to 
sell  or  to  deal  with  them  as  they  pleased.  This  was  an 
old  device.  Through  large  landed-possessions  this  practice 
came  into  vogue  in  Byzantine  Egypt.  The  existence  of 
such  a  practice  is  even  reported  during  the  Omayyad 
times2  but  in  the  4th/10th  century  we  find  a  special 
book  in  the  tax  offices  of  Khorasan  dealing  with  such 
cases*.  About  300/91^  strikingly  common  was  this 
practice  in  tax-ridden  Fars''.  In  the  East  these  small 
landlords  ne\er  lost  their  proprietory  right  as  they  did 
in  Egypt,  where,  in  415  A.D.,  their  position  as  clients  was 
secured  and  ratified  by  law.'5 

Moreover,  to  the  treasury  came  in  a  fifth  of  the  treas- 
ure-trove ;  a  fifth  of  the  things  raised  from  the  mines  or 
found  in  the  sea  ;  the  sale  proceeds  of  slaves  of  untraceable 
owners ;  stolen  properties  recovered  from  robbers  and, 
finally,  the  treasury  was  the  ultimate  heir  when  no  legal 
heir  was  forthcoming6'.  The  rule,  regarding  the  ultimate 
succession  of  the  treasury  in  case  of  an  heirless  decease, 
applied  only  to  the  case  of  an  heirless  Muslim.  Thus  the 
property  of  Khatib  al-Baghdadi  (200  dinars)  passed,  after 
his  death,  to  the  State7.  According  to  a  saying  of  the 
Prophet :  "  A  Muslim  cannot  inherit  from  an  unbeliever 
and  vice-versa";  the  Caliph  in  311/P23  rules  that  the 
property  of  heirless  Christians  and  Jews  should  pass  on 
to  their  respective  communities  and  not  to  the  state8. 

Among  the  jurists  many  principles,  surprisingly  modern 
were  fought  out,  such  as  the  principle  that  property  should 
go  to  the  state  in  preference  to  distant  kindred.  And 
this  was  all  the  more  significant  as,  according  to  many 
jurists,  even  some  near  relations  could  only  inherit  such 
shares  as  were  definitely  fixed  by  th  Qur'an,  with  the  result 
that  the  treasury  often  became  their  co-heir9.  In  the 

(l)  See  the  note  at  the  end  of  this  chapter  Tr.  (2)  Qodamah,  241. 
(3)  Xhwarezmi,  Mafatih  al-Ulum,  62.  (4)  Istakhri,  158.  (5)  Matthias 
Gelzer:  Studien  zur  Byzantinischen  Verwaltung  Agyptens  72  ff.  (6)  Qa- 
damah,  Paris  1907,  fol.  91a:  Schmidt,  Die  occupatio  im  Islamischen 
Recht,  Islam,  1,300  ff.  (7)  Yaqut,  Irshad  1,252.  (8)  Wuz,  248. 

(9)  (There  are  three  classes  of  heirs  in  the  Hanafi  Law :  (1)  Sharers, 
[2]  Kesiduaries,  and  [3]  Distant  kindred.  '  Sharers '  are  those  who  are 
entitled  to  a  prescribed  shara  of  the  inheritance.  'Besiduaries '  are  those 
who  take  no  prescribed  share  but  succeeed  to  the  '  residue '  after  the 
claims  of  the  sharers  are  satisfied.  '  Distant  kindred '  are  all  those 
Delations  by  blood  who  are  neither  'sharers'  nor  ' Kesiduaries.' 
The  question  as  to  which  of  the  relations  belonging  to  the 


ItENAlSSANCE  OF  ISLAM  113 

3rd/9th  century  under  the  Caliph  al-Mut'amid  (25G-279/ 
869-892)  a  special  department  dealing  with  Inheritances 
(Diwan  al-Mawaritli)  was  established  :  a  splendid  pond 
for  greedy  officials  to  fish  inr. 

"  Woe  to  him  whose  father  dies  rich !  Long  does  he 
remain  incarcerated  in  misfortune's  home,  the  unrighteous 
officer  saying  unto  him :  How  do  I  know  that  you  are  the 
rich  man's  son  ?  And  when  he  rejoins  '•  "  My  neighbours 
and  many  others  know  me,  "  they  pluck  his  moustache 
one  by  one,  assault  him,  knock  him  about,  until  strength 
ebbs  away  from  him  and  he  faints.  And  in  the  dungeon 
he  languishes  until  he  flings  his  purse  to  them3/' 

Thus  complains  Ibn  al-Mut'azz  at  the  end  of  the  3rd/ 
9th  century. 

The  Caliph  al-Badhi,  did  indeed,  control  the  princely 
greed  for  capturing  inheritances;  for  when  the  Sultan  of 
Babylon  confiscated  a  large  inheritance  he  compelled  him 
to  restore  the  spoil  to  the  rightful  claimant'*. 

Saif-ud-I)awlah,  however,  officially  confiscated  inherit- 
ances.    In  333/944  he   appointed   Abu   Husain    Qadhi   of 
Aleppo.     When   confiscating   the   properties   of   the  dead, 
Abu  Husain  was  wont  to   say  :  "The   inheritance   is   Saif- 
ud-Dawlah's,  mine  the  commission  only''. 

Great  was  the  temptation  to  treat  the  property  of  de- 
ceased strangers  as  heirless  and,  as  such,  to  confiscate 
it.  Some  such  practice  was,  indeed,  legalized  in  England 
in  the  13th  Century  but  in  Islam  it  was  never  applied  to 
the  property  of  deceased  Muslims5. 

In  401/1010  a  considerable  sum  of  money  was  brought 
to  the  Buwayyid  Governor  at  Baghdad,  which  had  been 

class  of  '  sharers  '  or  '  Besiduaries,'  or  distant  kindred  '  are  entitled  to 
succeed  to  the  inheritance  depends  on  the  circumstances  of  each  case. 
Tr.)  In  the  absence  of  *  sharers  '  the  Shaf'ites  assign  to  the  State  the 
surplus  left  after  distribution  among  the  Residuaries  (Sacha,  Muh> 
RecM,  211  and  247).  In  283/896,  the  Caliph  al-Mut'adid  decreed  that 
distant  kindred  should  be  taken  into  consideration.  (Tabari,  III 
2151) ;  Abu'feda,  Annales,  year  283,  according  to  the  Tarikh  of  Qadhi 
Shahabu'ddin  (d.  642/1244)  Muqtafi  followed  al-Mut'adid  and  in  300/912 
renewed  that  law.  In  311/923  this  very  Caliph  annulled  his  law  and 
ordained  that,  in  case  of  failure  of  'near  relations/  the  surplus  was  to 
be  divided  among  the  'Eesiduaries,  with  the  result  that  the  state  and 
the  distant  kindred'  got  nothing.  In  355/966  the  Amir  Mui',zz-ud- 
Dawlah  enforced  the  older  practice  (Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  98b:  lOOa) 
(1)  According  to  the  edict  of  the  year  311,  Arib,  118.  (2)  Diwan, 
1,131.  (3;  Al-Suli,  Anraq  Paris  4836,  147.  (4)  Wustenfeld,  Die  Statthalter 
von  Agypten,  IV.  35.  (5)  Caro,  Soziale  und  Wirtschaftsgehschichte 
der  Judcn  1,317 


114  THE  EENAI8SANGE  OF  ISLAM 

left  by  a  deceased  Egyptain  merchant,  with  the  informa- 
tion that  he  was  heirless.  The  Governor,  however,  ruled 
that  nothing  which  was  unlawful  should  find  a  place  in  the 
treasury  and  that  the  money  should  not  be  touched  until 
further  enquiry.  Some  time  after  a  brother  of  the  deceased 
came  from  Egypt  with  a  document  empowering  him  to 
receive  the  heritage  and  he  duly  obtained  delivery  thereof. 
The  report  spread  and  throughout  Egypt  resounded  the 
fame  of  the  Governor  who  heard  it  with  pleasure  and 
satisfaction7. 

Different,  however,  was  the  case  with  people  of  other 
faiths.  In  the  Xllth  Century  the  Rabbi  Petachja  fell 
ill  at  Mosul  and  his  case  was  declared  hopeless  by  the 
physicians.  "  There,  according  to  law,  the  Government 
takes  half  of  the  property  of  every  Jew  that  dies  :  and  as 
the  Rabbi  was  well-dressed  they  said  :  he  must  be  rich, 
for  the  government  officials  have  already  come  to  take 
his  property  as  tliouyli  lie  was  dyiny. "  A  portion  of  the 
property  of  the  rich,  in  many  instances,  was  taken  away 
in  their  life-time.  The  practice,  indeed,  grew  up  of  exact- 
ing a  part  of  the  ill-gotten  gains  of  officials ;  not  unlike 
Napoleon  I,  who  extorted  for  the  State  large  sums  from 
his  enormously  wealthy  marshals.  Even  the  merchants, 
whom  they  fleeced,  probably  had  made  good  business  out 
of  their  dealings  with  the  State. 

Thus,  in  describing  the  oppressive  rule  of  Mut'arnid, 
Ibn  al-Mut'azz  says  : — 

"  And  to  many  a  prosperous  merchant  possessed  of 
gold  and  precious  stones  it  was  said  :  with  you'the  Govern- 
ment has  large  deposits.  And  he  rejoined  :  no,  by  God 
I  have  neither  little  nor  much.  I  have  only  made  money 
in  trade  and  never  have  I  cheated. 

But  they  fumigated  him  with  smoke  from  burning- 
straw  and  singed  him  with  heated  bricks  until  life  became 
a  burden  to  him,  and,  dispirited,  said  he,  would  that  all 
this  money  were  in  hell !  He  gave  them  what  they  wanted 
and  then  was  he  sent  away,  stiff  and  weary  and  sad5. 

In  Hilal  (Wuz,  224  ff)  the  list  of  such  instances  only 
shows  cases  of  officials  and  bankers  who  dealt  with  the 
government.  In  the  literature  of  romance  not  a  single 
case  appears  of  Government  confiscating  private  property 
in  this  unjust  fashion.  Ibn  Muqlah,  the  Wazir,  hated 
Abu'l-Khattab  but  he  could  not  find  any  administrative 

[1]    Ibn  al-Athir,  IX.  158.     [2]  Diwan,  1,  131. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  115 

reason  (Ta'riq  Diwani)  to  extort  money  out  of  him'  for 
he  had  left  Government  service  twenty  years  before  and 
was  living  peacefully  in  retirement  at  home.  Let  us 
trace  the  growth  of  this  practice.  At  the  beginning  of 
the  4th/10th  century  it  was  regarded  in  the  light  of  punish- 
ment but  later,  on  any  pretence  it  was  resorted  to  against 
all  who  had  dealings  with  the  government  and  were,  sus- 
pected of  foul  play.  The  Ikshid  viceroy  of  Egypt,  who 
outdid  all  other  princes  in  extortion  between  300/912  and 
350/960,  vigorously  pursued  this  policy  of  confiscation. 
"  He  took  from  every  one  what  he  could  ;  especially, 
armed  slaves  of  distinguished  men  with  their  weapons, 
horses,  liveries  and  incorporated  them  in  his  body-guard2." 
And  he  who  escaped  this  fate  while  living  was  sure  to 
lose  his  property  after  death.  This  became  a  settled 
practice  with  the  Ikhshid.  When  an  officer,  a  stranger, 
or  a  rich  merchant  died  he  prevented  the  heirs  from  taking 
possession  of  the  property  until  they  had  paid  him  a 
certain  amount  of  money7.  Thus  in  the  year  323/934  he 
took  100,000  dinars  from  the  heritage  of  the  cotton  mer- 
chant Sulaiman,  the  richest  merchant  of  the  country*. 

At  the  death  of  Muhallabi,  (d.  352/963)  who  had 
served  for  13  long  years,  Mu'izz-d-Dawlah  confiscated  his 
entire  property  and  extorted  money  from  all  his  servants, 
"  not  even  the  muleteers  and  boatmen  or  even  those  who 
had  served  him  for  a  single  day  exceptedV,  This 
provoked  general  horror  and  aroused  universal  resent- 
ment among  the  people.  And  when  Sahib,  who  had  ruled 
North  Persia  as  the  all-powerful  Wazir  for  many  years, 
died,  his  house  was  forthwith  put  under  guard  and  the 
Prince  personally  conducted  a  search  and  found  a  purse 
with  receipts  for  150,000  dinars  deposited  elsewhere. 
He  at  once  had  the  deposits  collected  and  all  that  was 
found  in  his  house  and  treasury  taken  away  to  the  palace*. 

In  these  circumstances  every  artifice  that  could  be 
employed  was  employed  to  thwart  the  treasury  in  its 
designs  upon  the  inehritances.  They  deposited  their 
properties  with  different  persons7  and  showed  them  in 
their  books  under  false  names8.  When  the  Wazir 
Ibn  al-Amid,  put  to  death  in  366/976,  saw  that  there  was 
no  longer  any  hope  for  him,  he  flung  the  inventory  of 

(1)  Misk,  V,  398.  (2)  Tallquist,  p.  16/17.  (3)  Tallquist,  36. 
(4)  Tallquist,  17.  (5)  Misk.  (Eng.  tr.),  Vol.  V,  p.  213,  "With  his  death," 
says  Misk,  "  the  generosity  and  nobility  of  the  clerical  profession  came  to 
an  end.1'  (6)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1  70.  (7)  Wuz,  74.  (8)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  193  b. 


116  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

his  property — money  and  goods — into  the  oven,  saying 
to  his  judges  :  '  Of  my  hidden  property  not  a  single  dirham 
shall  go  to  your  master'.  Even  torture  failed  to  secure 
a  clue  from  him7.  After  Bejkem's  death  (326/941)  the 
Caliph  al-Muttaqi,  a  very  pious  ruler,  went  forthwith  to 
his  house,  dug  everywhere,  and  got  two  millions  in  gold 
and  silver8.  He  even  had  the  soil  washed  and  thereby 
recovered  another  sum  of  36,000  Dirhams3.  But 
Bejkem  had  buried  some  of  his  treasury  in  the  desert. 
He  is  said  to  have  killed  those  who  helped  him  in  burying 
the  treasures  but  Thabit  ibn  Sinan  declares  this  to  be  a 
piece  of  falsehood.  Bejkein  himself  has  described  the 
process  to  Thabit  as  follows :  "  I  thought  about  the  trea- 
sure which  I  have  buried  in  my  palace  and  it  occurred  to 
me  that  some  accident  might  prevent  my  having  access 
to  my  palace,  in  which  case  I  should  lose  not  only  my 
property  but  my  life,  since  one  in  my  position  cannot  live 
without  wealth.  So  I  buried  some  in  the  country,  knowing 
that  I  could  not  fail  to  have  access  to  the  country.  I 
have  been  informed  that  people  defame  me  with  a  story 
that  I  murder  my  companions  on  these  occasions.  I 
assure  you  that  I  have  never  killed  any  one  in  that  way. 
I  will  tell  you  what  I  used  to  do.  When  I  wished  to  make 
an  expedition  for  the  purpose  of  burying  treasure,  I  used 
to  have  males  laden  with  empty  chests  brought  to  my 
palace.  In  some  of  the  chests  I  would  place  the  treasure 
after  which  I  would  lock  them.  Into  the  rest  I  would 
introduce  the  men  who  were  to  accompany  me  while  they 
were  on  the  mules'  back;  I  would  then  cover  the  chests, 
lock  them  and  lead  the  mules,  taking  the  rope  which  led 
the  train  and  sending  away  the  attendants  of  the  mules, 
which  I  would  myself  lead  to  the  place  which  I  wanted. 
When  I  was  by  myself  in  the  middle  of  the  country,  I 
would  let  the  men  out  of  the  chests,  they  having  no  idea 
where  they  were ;  I  would  then  have  the  treasure  taken 
out  and  buried  in  my  presence,  while  I  made  some  private 
marks.  After  this  I  would  make  the  men  get  back  into 
their  chests,  which  I  would  then  cover  and  lock.  I  would 
then  lead  the  mules  to  such  place  as  I  chose,  and  there 
let  the  men  out.  They  neither  knew  where  they  had  gone 
nor  by  what  way  they  had  returned  and  no  murder 
was  necessary4 ". 


[1]  Yaqufc,  Irshad,  V.  350. 

[2]  Ibn  al-Jauzi.  Berlin,  fol.  68a. 

[3]  Misk  VI,  39. 

[4]  Misk  [Eng.  trj,  Vol.  V.  pp.  11-12  Tr. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  117 

To  seize  the  property  left  by  the  treasurer  (d.  350/961), 
whom  Mu'izz-ad-Dawlah  always  regarded  as  poor,  the 
Wazir  resorted  to  the  arts  of  a  detective.  By  those 
methods  he  eventually  succeeded  in  tracing  the  treasure 
to  the  room  of  his  Nubian  barber  and  in  discovering  the 
actual  amount  and  the  exact  spot.  These  were  inscribed 
in  secret  letters  on  the  back  of  a  scale-pan  of  a  weighing 
machine. 

The  death  of  a  well-to-do  man  was  a  veritable  catas- 
trophe to  his  family  and  friends.  His  bankers  prevented 
inspection  of  his  will  by  officials  in  order  that  they  might 
not  know  how  and  where  his  property  was  deposited. 
But  all  this  notwithstanding,  the  family,  in  the  end,  had 
to  bay  itself  off  by  payment  of  large  sums  ;  in  some  cases 
amounting  to  as  much  as  50,000  dinars7.  According  to 
the  strict  law  of  Islam  customs  duty  is  forbidden  and  yet 
everywhere  customs-offices  were  found2.  The  Jurists 
solved  the  difficulty  by  bringing  customs-duty  under  the 
heading  of  Poor-tax  (zakat) — at  all  events,  so  far  as  the 
Muslims  were  concerned.  Hence  the  fiction  that  a  mer- 
chant could  have  free  passage  across  the  frontier  for  a  year, 
should  he  pay  the  customs-duty  once  during  that  year. 
But  he  had  also  to  pay  10  per  cent,  on  all  cash  that  he  took 
along  with  him.  In  reality  the  tariff  varied  very  much. 
At  Jeddah,  the  pore  of  Mekka,  they  levied  half  a  dinar 
on  every  camel-load  of  wheat  ;  on  every  bale  of  Egyptian 

[1]  Misk,  VI,  248.  [2]  Qalqashandi,  Wustenfeld,  162.  Accord- 
ing to  theory,  tho  non-Muslim  merchant  has  to  pay  on  the  frontiers  the 
very  same  customs-duty  as  Muslims  ;  generally  10  per  cent,  on  his  wares. 
On  payment  he  receives  a  pass,  available  for  a  year  which  releases  him 
from  any  further  obligation  to  pay  customs-duty  during  that  period 
(Sarakhshi  d.  495/1102)  in  his  commentary  on  Shaibani.  MS.  Ledien 
in  de  Goeje  :  Internationale  Handehverlcrer  in  de  Middleenwen,  Versl- 
agen  en  Me'dedeelingen  dvr  K.  Akad.  \V  We.tcnschapen,  1909,%Q5).  But 
on  this  point  there  is  no  consensus  of  opinion  among  the  learned,  Some 
fix  the  customs  duty  on  foreign  merchants  at  5  per  cent  ;  only  on  im- 
ported wine  10  per  cent  had  to  be  paid  [Yahya  b.  Adam,  51] — others  fix 
the  customs-duty  at  10  per  cent,  all  round  [Kit  al-Khiraj,78].  Ac- 
cording to  Shafai  this  10  per  cent,  customs-duty  may  be  increased  or 
decreased  by  half  as  the  exigencies  of  the  State  may  require.  In  any 
case  this  was  a  purely  personal  tax  and,  when  the  same  merchant  hap- 
pened to  come  again  within  the  year  with  goods,  he  had  nothing  to  pay 
except  according  to  mutual  agreement  [Qalqashandi,  164].  In  the 
5/Ilth  century  the  Greek,  the  Spanish  and  the  Maghribian  ships  had  to 
pay  the  tenth  to  the  Sultan  at  Tripoli  [Nasir  Khusru],  The  word 
tenth/  in  the  end  assumed  merely  the  meaning  of  Customs-duty.' 
'The  commercial  treaties  of  1154  and  1173  A.D.  with  the  Pisans  fix 
customs  at  10  per  cent.  [Schaube,  Handelsgeschichte  der  rom.  Volker, 
149].  [See  the  note  at  the  end  of  this  chapter,  Tr]. 


118  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

linen  2  or  3  dinars  according  to  quality  ;  on  a  camel-load 
of  wool  2  dinars.  At  Qulzum  (Suez)  they  levied  on  every 
camel-load  1  dirharn.  Even  at  other  Arabian  ports 
customs-duty  was  levied,  but  the  rate  was  generally  lower, 
The  ships,  coming  from  the  West  to  Egypt,  paid  customs- 
duty  at  Alexandria  ;  those  from  Syria  at  Farama*.  The 
different  Arab  potentates  had  their  own  custom-houses 
with  different  tariffs7.  One  of  these  levied  half  dinar 
on  every  load,  most  of  the  others  only  charged  one  dirham. 

Babylonia  was  richly  blessed  with  sea,  river  and  street 
tolls.  On  occount  of  its  exacting  searches  and  harassing 
interferences  Basra  bore  a  bad  reputation.  There  in 
Muqaddasi's  time  lay  the  frontier  between  the  territory  of 
the  Caliph  and  that  of  the  Karmathians  and,  at  the  gate 
of  the  town,  were  located  face  to  face  custom-houses  of 
the  two  powers  ;  so  that  on  a  single  sheep  as  much  as  four 
dirhams  (double  its  worth)  was  levied.  The  gate,  indeed, 
opened  for  only  an  hour  a  day  (Muq.  Eng.  tr.  p.  217).  At 
Yahudhiya,  the  merchant  quarter  of  Isfahan,  30  dirhams 
were  imposed  as  octroi  for  every  camel-load  (Muq.  400). 
In  one  of  the  provinces  of  Sind  the  customs-duty  was 
differentiated  according  as  the  merchandise  came  from 
other  parts  of  Sind*. 

As  was  the  practice  everywhere  in  ancient  times  here 
too  export  duties  were  charged.  According  to  jurists  the 
frontier  garrisons  are  to  search  the  travellers,  to  take 
away  arms  and  slaves  from  them,  to  inspect  their  papers  to 
see  if  they  contain  any  information  relating  to  the  faith- 
ful*. In  Transoxiana  they  charged  for  a  passage  across 
the  Oxus  for  every  male  slave  70  to  100  dirhams  ;  for 


[1]  Muq.  104.  [2]  "The  provinces  of  this  country"  says  Muqad- 
dasi,  "are  under  separate  governments.  Al-Hijjaz  has  ever  belonged  to 
the  sovereigns  of  Egypt.  Al-Yaman  belongs  to  the  Al-Ziyad  dynasty 
whose  origin  is  of  Hamadan.  Ibn  Tarf  has  Athar  and  over  San'a  an 
independent  governor  rules,  who  is,  however,  subsidized  by  Ibn  Ziyad 
in  order  to  read  the  Khutbah  in  his  name.  Sometimes  'Aden  would  be 
wrested  from  their  hands  [on  the  break-up  of  the  Ziyadite  kingdom 
Aden  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Banu  Man  who  had  held  a  semi- 
independent  rule  over  it  since  the  days  of  Al-Mamun].  The  family  of 
Qahtan  are  in  the  mountains.  They  are  the  oldest  dynasty  in  Al- 
Yaman.  The  Alawiyah  of  Sadah  read  the  Khutbah  in  the  name  of  the 
Al-Ziyad  dynasty.  'Uman  belongs  to  Ad-Dailam.  [It  came  under  the 
power  of  the  Dailamites  in  A.H.  355.  See  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  419] 
and  Hajar  to  the  Qaramitah.  Al-Ahqaz  is  ruled  by  a  native  chieftain" 
Azuh's  tr.  pp.  158-59.  Tr. 

[3]    Muq,  485. 

[4]     Kital-Kkiraj,   117 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  119 

every  Turkish  slave  girl  20  to  30  dirhams  and  for  a  camel 
2  dirhams.  For  the  luggage  of  the  passenger  a  charge 
of  1  dirham  was  imposed  l.  In  the  small  South  Arabian 
town  of  Athar  only  export  duty  was  levied2.  Kirman, 
amazingly  rich  in  dates,  only  perhaps  paid  the  export 
prize.  There  the  drivers  of  caravans  exporting  1,00,000 
camel-loads  of  dates  to  Khorasan,  received  a  reward  of  one 
dinar  per  head  from  the  government*. 

The  custom's  searches  in  'Oman  were  particularly 
said  to  be  objectionable*.  In  the  6th/12th  century  the 
Spanish  Ibn  Jubair  complains  of  the  conduct  of  the  custom 
"officers  at  Alexandria:  u  Scarcely  had  we  arrived  when 
the  Government  officials  boarded  the  boat  to  take  chaige 
of  everything  that  was  there.  Every  Muslim  was  pro- 
duced one  after  another  :  his  name,  his  personal  descrip- 
tion, the  place  he  came  from  —  all  was  noted  down. 
Everyone  was  questioned  as  to  the  goods  and  the  cash 
that  he  had  with  him.  On  all  he  had  to  pay  zaJcat  (poor 
tax)  without  any  enquiry  whether  he  had  paid  it  already 
or  not  for  the  year.  As  most  of  the  travellers  were  on 
pilgrimage  by  sea  they  had  nothing  with  them  except 
provisions  for  the  journey'5.  For  these  they  had  now 
to  pay  the  poor-tax  without  being  asked  whether  a  year 
had  or  had  not  elapsed  since  the  last  payment.  Ahmad 
ibn  Hasan  was  brought  ashore  for  information  regarding 
the  Maghrib  and  the  goods  on  the  boat.  He  was  taken  to 
the  authorities,  then  to  the  Qadhi,  then  to  the  custom 
officers,  then  to  a  band  of  the  Sultans'  s  servants,  and 
was  interrogated  about  everything.  They  commanded 
the  faithful  to  unpack  their  luggage,  their  provisions. 
Guards  were  quartered  on  the  bank  to  see  that  everything 
was  actually  brought  into  the  customs  office.  They  then 
questioned  the  passengers  one  after  another.  Everyone's 
luggage  was  brought  in  until  the  customs  office  became 
choked  full.  This  was  followed  by  searches  of  things  — 
big  and  small—  and  everything  was  thrown  pell-mell. 
They  felt  the  pockets  of  travellers  to  see  if  there  was  any 
thing  there.  When  this  was  done  they  made  them  swear 
if  they  had  anything  else  besides.  In  this  process  and 
owing  to  a  pressing  crowd,  many  things  were  lost.  After 
a  degrading  and  humiliating  scene  the  travellers  were 
sent  away.  We  prayed  to  God  for  a  liberal  reward  for  all 


__       ______  __  ___ 

(1)     Muq,     340,  ~[2]     Muq,  "485.     [8J     MuqT  124  [4]  Muq,  7  105. 
[5]     Provisions   for   the  journey,  according  to  the  jurists,  were  exempt 
from  duty.     Qalqashandi,  Wustenfeld,  162. 
[6]    Ibn  Jubair,  351. 


120  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

The  assumption,  made  in  all  seriousness  from  the  very 
beginning  of  Islam,  that  the  Empire  was  the  empire  of  the 
faithful,  led  to  the  separation  of  the  State-treasury  (Bait 
al-mal)  from  the  privy-purse  of  the  sovereign  (Bait  mal 
al-khassah).  But  as  one  and  the  same  person  could  draw 
from  both  without  accounting  to  any  one,  it  was  but  a 
matter  of  his  own  conscience  how  far  he  would  keep 
the  two  separate'.  In  later  centuries  touching  stories 
were  invented  regarding  the  care  and  attention  which 
Abu  Bakr  and  'Omar  bestowed  on  the  moneys  of  the  faith- 
ful. And  yet  an  understanding  did  exist  that  in  the  event 
of  the  exhaustion  of  the  treasury  the  privy-purse  could  be 
drawn  upon  to  meet  the  situation2.  We  know  from  a 
letter  of  the  Wazir  Ibn  'Isa  that  the  Caliph  Al-Mu'tadid 
(279-289/892-901)  and  even  the  parsimonious  Muqtafi 
(289-295/901-7)  placed  the  privy-purse  at  the  disposal  of 
the  State'7.  Under  ul-Mutadid,  however,  it  was  still 
something  uncommon.  When  in  the  absence  of  the 
Wazir,  his  son,  who  was  representing  him,  borrowed  money 
of  the  Caliph  for  purposes  of  State,  the  father  wrote  to 
him  saying  that  he  had  committed  an  offence  against  them 
both.  He  should  have  raised  the  money  from  the  mer- 
chants and  paid  interest  to  them  out  of  his  and  his  father's 
money''.  Under  Al-Muqtadir  (295-320/907-932)  the  privy- 
purse  was,  indeed,  very  largely  drawn  apon ;  always, 
to  be  sure,  on  the  understanding  that  the  moneys,  so  drawn 
would  be  repaid.  In  319/931  the  Wazir  laid  before  the 
Caliph  a  deficit  of  700,000  dinars  H  million  marks)  on 
account  of  urgent  State  expenditure,  and  saw  no  other 
way  out  of  the  difficulty  than  payment  by  the  Head  of 
the  State.  But  to  the  Caliph  this  suggestion  seemed 
monstrous  and  he  very  gladly  accepted  the  offer  of  an 
aspirant  to  office  who  undertook  to  pay  the  entire  sum, 
and  a  million  dirhams,  over  and  above  that  amount, 
to  the  privy-purse  of  the  Caliph.  This  benefactor  was 
installed  as  Wazir  but,  in  the  following  year,  he  was 
deposed  as  they  discovered  that  he  manipulated  accounts 
to  his  own  advantage5.  In  329/940  the  Wazir  asked  for 

[l]  A  certain  check  lay  in  this,  that  the  Wazir  [the  Finance  Minis- 
ter] was  at  the  same  time  the  chief  of  the  privy-purse  and  as  such  had 
to  countersign  the  orders  of  the  Steward  of  the  Eoyal  Household. 
Wuz.  140. 

[2]    Thus,  in  our  own    days,    the  Sultan  'Abdul   Hamid  supplied 
money  to  the  State-Treasury  from  his  own  immense  fortune. 
[3]     Wua.  284. 

[4]    Wuz,  188. 

[5]     Misk,  V,351 :  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  176. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  121 

and  obtained  500,000  dinars  from  the  Caliphs'   privy-purse 
for  the  pay  of  the  troops. 

As  the  spiritual  head,  the  Caliph  had  to  meet  out  of 
his  own  purse  the  expenses  of  the  pilgrimage  and  the 
annual  campaigns  against  the  unbelievers.  He  had  also 
to  pay  for  the  ransom  of  prisoners  and  the  entertainment 
of  foreign  ambassadors'.  On  the  other  hand  the  entire 
appanage  and  the  court  were  maintained  at  the  State  cost3. 

We  possess  a  statement  of  the  sources  of  income  to 
the  privy-purse  dating  from  the  4tb/10th  century3  :— 

1.  Ancestral  Property.    Among  the  Abbasids   Harun 
al-Eashid  is   said  to  have  left  the  largest  amount  in  cash  : 
48  Million  dinars,  i.e.,  about  480  million  marks.    But    the 
Caliph  al-Mutadid    (279-289/892-901),    by    economy    and 
good   management,   increased  his   cash   to   over  9  million 
dinars.     This    immense    sum    was    considered    so    extra- 
ordinary that  people  ascribed  to  him  all  manner  of  schemes 
which  he  had  in  view  as  soon  as  the  savings   amounted  to 
10  million  dinars.     He  wanted,  it  is  reported,  to  reduce  the 
land-tax  to  a  third.     He  wanted,  so  it  is  also  said,   to   melt 
down   the  gold  pieces   into   one   single   block  to  be  placed 
before  the  gate  of  his  palace  that  the  princes   might  know 
that  he  had  at  his  command  10  million  diaa,rs  and  that  he 
did  not  need   their  help.     But   he  died  before  he  actually 
got  together  10  million  dinars''.     His  successor  Al-Muqtafi 
(289-295/901-907)    raised    the  prhy-purse   to   14    million 
dinars5. 

2.  Land-tax  and  tax  paid  for    lands  held  in  fiefs  in 
Persia  and   Kirman,  i.e.,   the  net  income  after  deduction 
of  expenses).     From  299/911  to  320/932  the  annue-1  amount 

[1]  Wuz,  22.  It  was,  therefore,  not  very  unnatural  for  the  Wazir 
to  ask  the  Caliph  al-Muqtadir  for  the  cost  of  the  Baqra'id  feast  but  the 
Caliph  resented  the  demand.  Wnz  28. 

[2]     Wuz,  10  ff. 

[3]     Misk,  V,  381  ff. 

[4]  Wuz,  189.  For  his  private  treasure  he  built  a  house  the 
joints  of  which  were  filled  with  lead.  The  money  was  kept  in  purses 
bearing  the  stamp  of  the  treasurer  responsible  for  them.  [Wuz  139]. 
Other  princes  of  the  4th/10th  century  kept  their  money  in  chests.  Only 
the  far  sighted  Ikhshid,  Prince  of  Egypt  kept  his  money  in  the  armoury 
in  sacks  made  of  net-work  of  steel-wire,  where  no  one  suspected  it  to 
be.  Tallquist,  43. 

[5]  Besides  Misk,  see  Wuz,  290  [p,  139  other  figures  are  mention- 
ed];  Elias  Nisibenus,  [b.  364/974]  p.  200.  According  to  Muh,  ibn 
Yahya. 


122  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

that  came  in  was  23  million  dirhams  of  which  4  millions 
were  credited  to  the  treasury  and  the  rest  (19  millions) 
to  the  privy-pnrse.  True,  the  Caliph  had  to  meet  extra- 
ordinary expenses  of  these  Provinces ;  e.g.,  in  303/915  he 
had  to  pay  7  million  dinars  for  their  reconquest'. 

3.  Moneys   from    Syria   and   Egypt.     In   theory  the 
Capitation-tax  levied  upon  the  Jews  and  Christians   should 
come  to  the  private  treasury  of  the  Caliph  as  the  represen- 
tative of  the  faithful  and  not  to  the  State-treasury2. 

4.  Moneys  that  came  in   by   way  of '  compensation 
confiscation,  and  inheritance3. 

5.  Moneys   from   the  land -estates    and  land-tax    in 
general  from  Babylonia  and  Khuzistan. 

6.  Savings:     The   last   two   Caliphs   of   the  3rd/9th 
century   used   to  lay  by   every  year  1  million  dinars.     By 
such   econmy,   after  a   reign   of  25   years,   al-Muqtadir  is 
said  to  have  saved  over  700  million  marks  ;  that  is   to   say, 
double   the  amount   of  Harun  al  Kashid.     But   after  the 
Kannafchian   trouble   of   the   year   315/927   there  was  only 
half  a  million   dinars  (5   million   marks)  left  in  the  privy 
purse ;/. 

Fars  always  was  the  most  difficult  province  to  govern 
and  because  of  its  complicated  system  of  taxation  it 
served  as  a  rare  training  ground  for  administrators'5. 
Says  Muqaddasi :  "  Ask  not  about  the  multiplicity  and 
oppressiveness  of  its  taxes."  He  appears  to  have  read  in  a 
book  in  the  library  of  'Adad-ud-Dawlah  that  the  Persians 
of  Fars  were  so  drilled  into  obedience  that  they  became 
the  most  patient  of  men  under  injustice*7.  They  were 

[1]  This  amount  is  arrived  at  by  a  comparison  of  the  state- 
ments :  the  campaign  and  the  donative  cost  10  millions  (Misk.),  of 
which,  according  to  WUH.  (p.  290),  the  donative  cost  3  millions. 

[2]     Ibn  al-Jauzi,  196b. 

[3]  The  Caliph  inherited  the  property  of  the  eunuchs  and  child- 
less freedmen  of  the  family.  And  as  these  were  high-salaried  officers, 
wealth  flowed  into  the  Caliph's  treasury.  Thus  in  311/923  died  the  old 
general  and  armed  slave  Yanis  al-Muwaffaqi  whose  house  was  guarded 
by  1,000  picked  soldiers  and  who,  from  his  landed  estates  only,  drew  an 
income  of  30,000  dinars  (Arib,  115).  In  302/914  died  Bidah,  "the  most 
trained,  the  most  beautiful,  the  most  talented,  and  the  most  coquettish 
of  Ma'mun's  slave- girls  leaving  behind  a  considerable  sum  of  money, 
jewellery,  landed-estates  and  country  houses.  The  Caliph  confiscated 
them  all,"  Arib.  54. 

(4)  Misk,  Eng.  Tr.  pp.  203-204,  Vol.  IV.  Tr. 

(5)  Istakhri,   146. 

(6)  Muq,451. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  123 

weighed  down  under  most  oppressive  of  taxes  and  knew 
not  what  justice  was  '.  In  303/915  Fars  was  by  far  the 
most  heavily-taxed  of  all  the  provinces2.  Not  for  nothing 
doe?  Balkhi  devote  to  Pars  the  longest  of  his  political 
excursus*.  Already  under  the  Sassanids  diversified  may 
have  been  the  constitution  of  this  mountainous  country ; 
un-approachable  rocky  castles,  forests  and  a  landed  aristoc- 
racy constituted  a  perfect  feudal  frame- work.  Most  of  the 
lands  there  were  held  in  fiefs*  and  yet  the  financial  system 
was  so  minutely  worked  out  that  even  the  ordinary  labour- 
ers on  the  crown-lands  had  to  pay  their  taxes  in  dirhams5. 

The  taxes  were  assessed  on  the  basis  whether  the  land 
could  be  irrigated  and,  if  irrigated,  could  be  irrigated  by 
or  without  machinery.  In  cases  where  the  irrigation  \yas 
not  by  means  of  machinery  they  paid  a  certain  sum  which 
was  made  the  standard  of  assessment.  Two  thirds  of 
this  amount  was  raised  on  lands  irrigated  by  machinery 
and  only  one  half  on  lands  which  could  not  be  irrigated 
at  all6'. 

Fruit  culture  (the  vine  was  included  in  it  in  Islam)  was 
freed  from  taxation  by  the  Caliph  Mahdi  but  at  the  instance 
of  the  corn-dealers  in  303/915  this  privilege  was  withdrawn 
and  heavy  taxes  were  imposed.  The  vine -planters,  hence- 
forth, paid  for  every  150  A.H.  of  irrigable  vine  1425 
dirhams  as  tax7.  For  every  palm-tree  a  quarter  of  a 
dirham  was  charged8.  Mills  and  rose-factories  belonged 
to  the  Caliphf).  In  the  towns  of  Fars  the  Bazar-ground 
belonged  to  the  government  who  realized  rent — the  houses, 
of  course,  belonged  to  the  owners. 

All  taxes,  beyond  the  recognized  canonical  taxes  (such 
as  land  tax,  poor-tax,  capitation-tax  on  Christians  and 
Jews)  were  regarded  as  illegal  by  Muslim  jurists.  And 
thus  the  pious  Wazir  'All  ibn  Isa  removed  indirect  taxes 
(Maks)  in  Mekka  and  the  wine-tax  in  Mesopotamia" 
And  for  this  very  reason  precisely,  the  Egyptain  Caliph 
Al-Hakim,  when  he  wanted  to  be  pious,  removed  all  taxes 

(1)  Muq,  448.    (2)    Von  Kremer,  Einnahmebudget,  308. 

(3)  Istakbri,  156  ff  :  Ibn  Hankal,  216. 

(4)  Muq,  421. 

(5)  Istakhri,  158. 

(6)  Istakhri   157. 

(7)  Wuz,  340  :  Istakhri,  157.    (8)  Mnq,  452. 

(9)    Istakhri,  158.  (10)  Kit.  al'Uyun,  IV.  fol.  81.    Thoss  are  the 
Qara'ib  al-khamar  in  Ibn  Haukal,  142. 


124  THE  BENAISSANCE  0£  ISLM 

and  tolls  beyond  those  sanctioned  by  Law.  His  success- 
or, however,  soon  restored  them'.  Just  as  Fars  was 
famons  for  land-tax2,  so  was  Egypt  famous  for  indirect 
imposts.  The  lists  of  the  Fatamid  times  show  everything 
as  taxable — scarcely  was  the  air  immune  from  taxation*. 
Over  and  above  the  authorized  legal  amount — one  twelfth 
of  the  net  sum  was  charged  as  'discount, ;  one  tenth  as 
'  exchange  '  and  one  per  cent,  as  stamp  duty*.  The  Arab 
historians,  assuming  that  the  administration  was  con- 
ducted on  the  basis  of  the  canonical  Law,  call  Ibn 
Mudabbir,  the  director  of  the  Finances  in  Fjgypt  in  247/ 
861, "  Satan's  clerk "  who  introduced  these  illegal  exac- 
tions5. But,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  these  were  not  inno- 
vations, they  were  already  in  existence  under  the  Ptolemies 
the  Eomans  and  the  Byzantines.  "  People  involuntarily 
asked  if  there  was  anything  in  Egypt  which  was  not  taxed" 
(Wiicken,  Grieschische  Ostrafca,  410) ;  and,  evidently  the 
old  Islamic  time  did  not  lay  a  restraining  hand  upon  fiscal 
exploitations.  (Taxes  on  shops  were  for  the  first  time 
revived  both  at  Baghadad  (Yaqubi,  II,  481)  and  in  Egypt 
(Kindi,  ed.  Guest,  125)  under  the  Caliph  Al-Mahdi,  158- 
169  (775-786). 

Muqaddisi  (p.  213)  reports  that  in  Tinnis,  a  Peninsula 
known  for  its  weaving  trade,  taxes  were  so  oppressive  that 
the  people,  about  the  year  200/815,  complained  to  the 
Patriarch  who  happened  to  be  passing  through  the  town 
that  they  were  compelled  to  pay  five  dinars  a  year,  an 
amount  which  was  difficult  for  them  to  find  and  that  no 
quarter  was  given  or  mercy  shown  in  realizing  it. 

The  old  practices  continued  down  to  the  minutest 
detail  The  singular  position  which  Alexandria  once  held 
as  a  separate  district  for  purposes  of  taxation,  she  con- 
tinues to  hold  at  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century  of 
the  Muslim  era.  In  the  budget  it  is  stated  :,, Egypt  and 

(1)  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  Paris,   fol.  123a,  133b. 

(2)  See  Balkhi's  Province  of  Fars  (tr.  by  G.  Le  Strange)  pp.  83-85 

Tr. 

(3)  Maqrizi,  1,103. 

(4)  Hafmeier,  Mam.    IV,  100  if. 

(5)  Maqrizi,    Khitat,   1,   103.     He  declared  that  when  he  adminis- 
tered Babylonia — West  and   East — he  finished  his  work  by  the  evening, 
but  in  Egypt  business  kept   him  occupied  many  a    night  through.   (Ibn 
Haukal,  88).    Also  the  Christian  Wazir  'Isa  ibn  Nestorious  is  mentioned 
by   his  contemporary  and  fellow-Christian  Ibn  Sa'id  as  one  who  imposed 
many  new  taxes  (p.  180), 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM         125 

Alexandria*".  Even  later  Qalqashandi  mentions  that 
Alexandria  pays  taxes  direct  to  the  privy-purse  of  the 
Sultan2. 

Even  the  Pharaonic  theory  of  the  State-ownership  of 
the  land,  inherited  by  the  Ptolemies  the  Bomans,  and  the 
Byzantines,  plays  an  important  role  in  the  Arab  theories 
of  taxation.  Nor  is  the  old  Ptolemaic  principle  of  mono- 
poly lost  sight  of.  Speaking  of  the  first  Fatimid  times 
Muqaddisi  says  :  The  taxes  are  very  heavy  in  Egypt, 
especially  in  Tinnis,  Damietta  and  on  the  banks  of  the  Nile. 
The  Copts  of  Shata  are  only  allowed  to  use  materials 
stamped  by  the  Government  and  effect  sales  through 
Government  brokers.  And  whatever  was  sold  was 
entered  in  a  book  kept  by  a  government  official.  Not  until 
the  entry,  indeed,  was  the  staff  allowed  to  be  rolled,  tied 
with  bast,  packed  into  cases.  All,  who  had  anything 
to  do  with  any  of  these  processes,  had  to  be  paid  a  fee. 
Something  more  was  exacted  at  the  gate  of  the  harbour 
and  before  the  boat  sailed  she  was  thoroughly  searched. 
On  every  bag  of  oil  one  dinar  was  levied  at  Tinnis  and 
heavy  were  the  imposts  at  Fostat,  on  the  Nile.  I  was  told 
that  at  Tinnis  the  daily  customs  duty  was  to  the  exent 
of  1,000  dinars  and  there  were  quite  a  number  of  such 
places  on  the  banks  of  the  Nile,  in  Upper  Egypt,  and  on  the 
coast  near  Alexandria3.  In  the  second  half  of  the  4th/ 
10th  century  it  became  a  general  practice  in  the  East  to 
levy  duties  on  sales  of  goods.  Towards  the  end  of  his 
reign  'Adad-ud-Dawlah  (d.  372/98:4)  introduced  a  tax 
on  the  sale  of  horses  and  household  utensils  and  established 
a  monopoly  in  ice  and  flowered  silk.  Hence  the  angry 
verses :  "  A  toll  lies  on  all  the  markets  of  Babylon  and  a  tax 
of  a  dirham  on  things  sold  therein''".  When  in  375/ 
985  'Adad-ud-Dawlah's  son  sought  to  levy  a  tenth  of  the 
price  on  sale  of  genuine  silk  *  and  woollen  stuff,  the  town 
rebelled  and  compelled  the  withdrawal  of  the  measure'7. 
In  389/998  this  measure  was  again  re-introduced  aud  as 
before,  it  led  to  an  open  rebellion.  The  people  prevented 
the  Friday  service  in  the  old  town  and  set  fire  to  a  house 
where  tax-rolls  were  kept.  The  rioters  were  punished, 

(1)  Von  Kremar,  Einnahme-budget,  309. 

(2)  Tr.  by  Wustenfeld,  158. 

(3)  Mtiq,  213. 

(4)  Jauhari,  Diet.  S.  Mks. 

(5)  Ibn.  al-Janzi,    Berlin,    fol.    123b:  Ibn  al  Athir,  IX,  16t    23 
according  to  the  Taghi  of  the  contemporary  Sabi. 


126          THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

but  only  the  tax  on  genuine  silk  was  retained.     Thus  every 
piece,  as   it  came  out  of  the  loom,  was  stamped.     But 
taxes  did  not   stop   with  articles  of  luxury.      In  425/1033 
the     saintly    Dinawari'    impressed   upon   the  prince     the 
mischief  which   the   imposition  of   the  salt-tax   c-aused   to 
the  people.     It   was    accordingly    repealed   and    the  an- 
nouncement    was  made    in  the  sermon  at   the   mosque. 
At   the   door  of  the  mosque  curses  were  inscribed  on  him 
who  would  impose  the  salt-tax  again.     The  salt-tax,  then, 
brought  in  an  annual  revenue   of  2,000  dinars2. 

The  Egyptians,  indeed,  never  protested  or  rose  against 
these  taxes. 

In  Syria  the  taxes  on  merchandise  were  light  and  con- 
tinued to  be  so  even  under  the  Egyptian  Caliphs3.  Only 
there  existed,  particularly  in  Jerusalem,  the  rule  that 
goods  could  not  be  sold  save  in  authorized  rticarket-places, 
which  had  to  pay  heavy  sums  to  government1'.  The 
peculiar  feature  of  this  province  was  the  'Himayah', 
the  licence  tax,  as  for  instance  '  license '  for  keeping  a 
carriage.  These  '  licenses  '  yielded  quite  as  much  as  the 
high  land-tax  in  force5.  The  taxes  and  imposts  varied 
according  to  the  ruler.  Since  330/941,  says  Ibn  Haukal, 
the  taxes  depended  upon  people  who  tried  to  swindle  each 
other  and  people  whose  one  aim  was  to  make  hay  while 
the  sun  shone.  No  one  thought  of  or  cared  for  the 
country6'.  This  very  traveller  saw  the  Syrian  budget 
for  the  year  296/908,  which  showed  39  million  dirhams 
after  the  deduction  of  official  salaries7. 

In  these  two  countries — Egypt  and  Syria — the  State- 
chest  were  in  the  form  of  dome-shaped  structures  standing 
on  high  columns  within  the  chief  mosque.  At  Fostat  the 
State-chest  stood  in  front  of  the  pulpit.  It  had  an  iron- 
door  with  a  lock.  Access  to  the  door  could  only  be  had  by 
means  of  wooden  steps.  On  account  of  the  State-chest 
the  mosque  was  cleared  and  closed  at  night8.  Was  this 


(1)  Wuz,  368.  (2)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  188a.  (3)  Muq.  says:  Taxes  are 
not  heavy  in  Syria  with  the  exception  of  those  levied  on  the  Caravansaraies 
(Fanduk):  here,  however,  the  duties  are  oppressive.  The  property-tax, 
called  Himayah,  also  is  heavy.  <  Himayah '  literally  signifies  Protection.1 
It  was  an  uncanonical  tax  levied  on  goods  and  premises,  and  of  the  nature 
of  a  ('license')  granting  the  protection  of  the  State  to  the  occupier  and 
possessor.  Description  of  Syria  by  Muqaddasi  (circa  985  A.D)  Trans,  by 
Guy  Le  Strange,  pp.  91,  92.  Tr.  (4)  Muq,  167.  (5)  Muq.  189.  (6)  p.  128. 
(Mafatih  al~Ulum,  54.  (S)  Ibn  Eosteh,  116:  Muq,  182,  It  is  mention- 
ed that  at  Barda,  at  the  foot  of  the  Caucasus,  the  treasury,  according  to 
the  Syrian  practice,  stood  on  nine  columns  in  the  mosque.  It  bad  a 
leaden  roof  and  iron  doors.  Istakhri,  184, 


THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  127 

an  old  Egypto-Syrian  practice  ?  In  ancient  times,  was 
the  Church-chest  similarly  kept  ?  Was  the  church  in 
Byzantine  times  at  once  the  Temple  and  the  State-treas- 
ury'? 

Down  to  late  in  the  4th/10th  century  leases  of  royal 
domains  were  renewed  every  four  years  in  the  chief 
mosque2 — also  an  old  Egyptian  practice. 

Through  the  greater  half  of  the  century  (up  to  370/980) 
Mesopotamia  stood  under  the  almost  independent  Hama- 
danids.  These  Bediun  princes,  of  whom  only  Saif-ud- 
Dawlah,  in  Aleppo,  showed  any  splendour  or  possessed 
any  chivalry,  oppressed  thier  subjects  with  the  supine 
indifference  of  nomads.  They  were  by  far  the  worst 
rulers  of  the  century.  Compared  with  them,  the  Turkish 
and  Persian  rulers  were  angels  of  benignity.  Character- 
istic of  thier  nomad  upbringing  was  their  aversion  from 
trees,  When  Aleppo,  in  333/944,  held  out  against  the 
troops  of  'Adad-ud-Dawlah,  they  cut  down  all  the  beau- 
tiful trees  in  the  neighbourhood  which,  according  to  the 
contemporary  poet  Sanaubari  constituted  its  most  strik- 
ing charmj.  They  forcibly  purchased  the  greatest 
portion  of  the  lands  in  Mesopotamia  for  a  tenth  of  their 
actual  value.  In  his  long  life,  Nasir-ud-Dawlah  is  said 
to  have  converted  the  entire  district  of  Mosul  into  his 
private  propery''.  He  had  fruit  trees  cut  down.  He 
replaced  them  by  crops  such  as  cotton,  rice  and  others. 
Many  emigrated.  The  entire  tribe  of  the  Banu  Habib, 
cousins  of  the  Hamadanids,  went  over  with  12,000  (one 
MS.  has  5,000)  horse  men  to  the  Greeks,  whore  they  found 
a  friendly  welcome  and  whence  they  vigorously  plundered 
their  quondam,  unfortunate  home.  The  property  of  the 
unhappy  emigrants  was  naturally  confiscated  by  the  Prince. 
"Many,  however,  preferred  to  remain  in  Muslim  countries 
out  of  love  for  their  home  where  they  had  spent  their  youth. 
But  they  had  to  make  over  half  of  the  entire  harvest  and 
the  Prince  assessed  and  fixed  their  share  of  taxes,  as  he 
pleased,  in  gold  and  silver.'1 

In  358/968  the  district  of  Nisbis  alone  yielded  five 
million  dirhams  a  part  from  the  capitation-tax,  which 
brought  in  5,000  dinars ;  wine-tax  which  brought  in  5,000 
dinars;  taxes  on  domestic  animals  and  vegetables  which 
brought  in  5,000  dinars  and  the  taxes  from  mills,  baths, 


(1)    cf.  Wilcken.  Clriech.  Ostraka,  149.      (2)  Maqrizi,  Khitat  1,  82, 
(3)  Wustecfeld,  die  SlathalUr  vcn  Agyptcn,  IV,  36.     (4)  Misk,  VI,  485, 


12B         THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

shops  and  crown-lands  which  brought  in  10,000  in  dinars. 
After  the  expulsion  of  the  Hamadanid  trees  were  replanted 
and  vineyards  restored7. 

It  is  not  surprising,  then,  that  about  370/9&0  Ibn 
Haukal  declares  the  Hamadanids  and  the  Spanish  (Caliph 
Abdal-Bahman  III  to  be  the  richest  princes  of  the  time3. 
In  368/978  'Adad-ud-Dawlah  stored  away  in  his  strongest 
castle  treasures  worth  about  20  million  dirhams'5.  And 
yet  there  was  constant  quarrel  for  tribute  both  with 
Baghdad  and  Byzantium ;/. 

In  the  East  which,  in  the  course  of  the  century  paid 
homage  to  different  princes,  specially  to  the  Samanids 
and  the  Buwayyids,  taxation  in  the  4th/10th  and  3rd/9th 
centuries  was  fairly  uniform.  Ibn.  Haukal  states  this 
to  be  the  case  even  with  Afghanistan.  He  gives  the  best 
certificate  to  the  Samanids  for  having  devised  a  sound  and 
uniform  system  of  financial  adminstration  for  the  whole  of 
the  extreme  north  and  the  east  of  the  Empire.  Says  Ibn 
Haukal :  "  The  taxes  are  lower  and  yet  the  salaries  of 
officers  higher  than  anywhere  else.  The  taxes  are  collect- 
ed twice  a  year  and  yield  40  million  dirhams  per  annum. 
The  sakries  are  paid  every  quarter  and  amount  to  5 
millions  a  quarter — half  of  the  revenue.  The  State- 
officers,  such  as  the  Qadlns,  tax-collectors,  civil  servants, 
heads  of  the  Police  and  post-masters  of  a  particular 
district  receive  the  self -same  pay  which  is  fixed  according 
to  the  taxable  resources  of  the  district.  The  gieat  differ- 
ence between  the  income  and  the  expenditure  points  to 
just  and  mild  adminstration  of  the  taxes5," 

In  Fars,  in  309/918,  under  'Adad-ad-Dawlah,  the  most 
outstanding  ruler  of  the  century,  the  revenue  rose  from 
1887,500  to  21,50,000;  that  is  to  say  it  increased  by  one- 
sixth  of  the  original  amount.  He  could  thus  afford  to 
spend  freely  and  secure  an  annual  revenue  of  three  and  a 
quarter  million  dinars,  for,  as  Ibn  al-Jauzia  says,  "  he 
valued  the  dinar  and  despised  not  even  the  smallest  copper 
coin7." 


(1)  Ibn  Haukal,  140  sqq.  (2)  Dozy,  II,  57.  (3)  Misk,  VI,  496.  Misk 
was  entrusted  with  the  counting  of  the  booty.  (4)  For  instance,  Elias 
Nisibenus,  p.  215,  according  to  Thabit  b.  Sinan,  Ibn  Sa'id,  61  ff.  (5)  Ibn 
Haukal,  341.  (6)  Ibn  Balkhi,  J.R.A.S  ,  1912,  p.  889.  (7)  Ibn  al-Jauzi, 
Berlin,  fol.  120  b.  There  another  authority  sets  down  his  revenue  at  320 
million  dirhams:  a  further  proof  that  a  dinar  was  only  worth  10  dirhams. 
He  wanted  to  raise  his  revenue  from  320  to  360  millions ;  that  is  to  say, 
a  million  per  day. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  129 

On  the  whole  Egypt  also  maintained  an  equally  high 
level.  In  the  3rd/9th  century  the  all  too  powerfull  Ibn 
Tulun  managed  to  extort  about  5  million  dinars  'from  the 
country.  In  the  troublous  times  about  the  middle  of  the 
4th/10th  century  it  yielded  32,70,000  dinars  a  year  and 
about  the  @nd  of  the  century  under  the  Wazir  Ya'qub  ibn 
Killis  it  rose  again  to  four  million  dinars'.  Of  a  general 
financial  collapse  there  can  be  no  talk.  Everywhere  it 
depended  upon  the  man  at  the  helm  of  the  State.  In 
355/965  the  Wazir  represented  to  the  Buwayyid  llukn-ud- 
Dawlah  that  the  district  of  Adherbaijan  would  yield  50 
million  dirhams  if  he  personally  assumed  the  administra- 
tion. To  a  weaker  administrator,  he  pointed  out,  it 
cannot  yeild  more  than  2  millions  at  the  outside  because 
of  the  fiefs  of  the  Dailams  and  Kurds  and  the  difficulty 
of  forcibly  realising  taxes  from  such  as  were  powerful 
and  headless  of  their  obligation  and  because  of  waste  and 
want  of  care. 

Only  in  Babylonia  the  taxable  resoursces  of  the  country 
declined  and  this  decline  shows  itself  in  the  second  half 
of  the  3rd/9th  century.  About  240/850  Ibn  Klmrdadbih 
estimates  the  revenue  of  Babylon  at  78  million  dirhams. 
About  290/893  a  large  portion  of  Babylon,  about  half, 
is  leased  out  for  two  and  a  half  million  dinars*.  The 
Budget  of  the  year  306/918,  however,  only  shows  just  a 
little  over  one  and  a  half  million  dinars — less  than  a  third3. 
The  revenue,  indeed,  increases  somewhat  in  the  4th/10th 
century.  In  358/968  Ibn  Fadl  leased  out  Babylon  for  42 
million  dirhams '',  Later  'Adad-ud-Dawlah  only  offered 
30  million  dirhams  for  it5.  Very  voilent  was  the  contrast 
from  the  early  times,  for  then  "  the  land-tax  of  Babylon 
consitituted  the  largest  sum  in  the  world6* "  but  now 
'Adad-ud-Dawlah  affirmed  that  he  would  rather  have 
title  from  Babylon  and  revenue  from  Arragan  (the  coast 
land  in  Fars)7.  The  main  reason  for  the  decline  was 
the  gradual  conversion  of  the  country  into  a  swamp,  due 
to  maladministration.  The  peasants  were  compelled  to 
emigrate.  Most  of  the  people  of  Mosul,  for  instance, 
were  Arabs  who,  in  the  4th/10th  century,  had  come  to 

(1)  Abu  Salih,  ed.  Evetts,  fol.  23a. 

(2)  Wuz,  10.     The    statement  (Wuz.  188)  that  under    this    very 
Caliph,  al-Mutadid,  Babylon  yielded  the   same  revenue   as  it  did  under 
'Omar  I,  does  not  fit  in  with  the  figures. 

(3)  Von  Kremer,  Einnahmebudget,  312. 

(4)  Ibn  Haukal,  169/178.    (5)    Misk,  VI,  440. 
(6)     Aghani,  IV,  79.    (7)     Muq,  421. 


130  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of1  ISLAM 

Mesopotamia  to  cultivate  the  alluvial  lands*.  Thus 
Babylonia  was  unable  to  contribute  anything  to  the 
central  treasury. 

The  lopping  off  the  Province  of  Fars  from  the 
Empire  by  the  Saffarids  caused  the  first  financial  em- 
barrassment to  the  Baghdad  Government.  This  crisis, 
in  the  70th  year  of  the  3rd/9th  century  suggested,  for  the 
first  time,  the  idea  of  compulsory  loans.  Al-Muwaffiq 
proposed  to  the  Wazir  "  loans  from  merchants  and  also 
an  imposition  of  a  sum  of  money  upon  them,  upon  the 
Wazir  (himself),  upon  the  clerks  and  treasury  officials  to 
meet  the  expenses  of  the  equiment  and  despatch  of  an 
army  to  Fars."  But  the  Wazir  was  not  very  pleased  with 
the  proposal2.  When,  about  the  year  300/912,  money 
from  the  Province  of  Ahwaz,  which  had  been  farmed  out, 
came  in  in  driblets,  the  Government  at  Baghdad  made  the 
Jewish  Financier  Joseph,  son  of  Phinehas,  advance  money 
to  make  up  the  deficit*.  In  the  year  319/931  the  Govern- 
ors of  Fars  and  Eirman  conspired  together  to  hold 
back  the  revenue  in  the  future,  with  the  result  that  the 
Wazir  was  compelled,  for  the  first  time,  to  sell  crown-lands 
of  the  value  of  50,000  dinars''  and  also  to  take  a  loan  of 
half  the  amount  of  the  taxes  realizable  in  320/932.  Thus 
for  the  year  320  very  little  in  the  way  of  taxes  was  left. 
Moreover  he  had  to  borrow  200,000  dinars  (2  million  nwks) 
at  the  rate  of  1  per  dirham  per  dinar,  that  is  to  say  seven 
per  cent,  per  month5.  In  323/934  the  loan  could  not  be 
repaid.  The  Wazir  was,  therefore,  compelled  to  give 
the  creditors  in  part  orders  upon  the  treasury  officials  of 
Babylonia  and  in  part  to  sell  domain-lands6.  In  324/935 
the  Wazir  again  borrowed  from  rich  merchants  ;  and  State 
properties,  such  as  houses  near  the  wall  of  the  old  town 
etc.,  etc.,  had  to  be  sold  to  repay  the  loan7, 

In  the  method  of  collecting  taxes  the  bad  pre-Islam 
practices  now  recur.  The  tax-farming  in  the  East  began 
with  the  Government  loan,  which  was  adopted  for  the 

[1]  Ibn  Haukal,  143.  [2]  Sabusti,  Kit.  al-Dhiyarat,  Berlin,  fol. 
119a. 

[2]  Wuz,  178. 

[4]  In  such  circumstances  the  neighbouring  land-lords  combined 

together  and  purchased  the  land  for  much  below  the  real  value :  Ibn 

hamdun,  J.R.A.S.,  1908,  434. 

[5]  Misk,  V,  342,  345,  364;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII.  165. 

[6]  Misk,  V,  505. 

[7]  Al-Suli,  Auraq,  p.  103. 


THE  KENA1S8ANCE  OF  ISLAM  131 

first  time  under  the  Caliph  al-Mut'adid  (279-289/892-901)'. 
At  that  time  "the  world  was  desrted  and  the  treasuries 
empty.0  It  took  quite  a  long  time  to  collect  the  taxes 
and  yet,  in  spite  of  all  retrenchments,  they  required  7,000 
dinars  per  day  to  meet  the  necessary  expenses.  Two 
shrewd  officers  induced  a  capitalist  to  advance  this  sum 
as  against  the  taxes  of  some  of  the  districts  of  Babylonia. 
With  this  device  the  Wazir  and  the  Caliph  were  delighted 
for  it  was  at  once  novel  and  ingenious2.  With  the 
exception  of  the  manorial  estates,  the  tax  roll  of  303/915 
shows  Ahwaz  and  Wasit  as  farmed  out3. 

(1)  [See  Von  Tischendorf,  Lehnwesen  in  den  Moslim,  Staaten, 
Leipzig,  1872  Tr.]  (2)  Wuz,  101  et  sqq.  (3)  Von  Kremer,  Fars,  was 
also  farmed  out  but  as  the  lessee  neglected  to  pay,  it  was  taken  away 
from  him  and  brought  back  under  State  control  (Wuz.  340). 


IX  THE  COURT. 


BLACK  and  white  were  the  colours  of  the  Caliphs  in  the 
4th/10th  century.  When  in  the  year  320/982  the  Caliph 
Muqtadir  took  his  last  ride',  fully  aware  of  its  serious 
significance,  he  dressed  himself  in  the  most  solemn  attire. 
He  wore  a  silvery  qafatan  and  a  black  turban,  and  bore 
the  mantle  of  the  Prophet  on  his  shoulder  and  carried  a 
staff  in  his  hand2.  In  front  of  him  rode  the  Crown-prince, 
like  the  Caliph,  dressed,  in  Qafatan  and  white  turban. 
In  the  4th/10th  century  the  Abbasid  rulers  usually  wore 
the  high-pointed  cap  (Qalaiuuwali)  and  the  Persian  cloak 
(Qaba] — not  unlike  those  worn  by  his  distinguished  subjects 
— colour  raven-black'9. 

Black  too  was  the  purse  in  which  the  Caliph  daily 
put  in  alms  at  the  morning-prayer1.  Black  likewise 
was  the  banner  of  the  Caliphate  ('alam  al-Khilafat)  bearing 
in  white  the  inscription  'Mohamed  is  the  messenger  of 
God'  (M.  rasnl  allali)  5. 

[1]  (Misk,  IV,  265  Tr.)  [2]  Arib.  177  ;  Ibn  al-Janzi.  fol.  436.  Staff 
and  mantle  were  the  distinguishing  tokens  of  the  Caliph  ;  Diwan  of 
Itida,  813.  The  mantle  was  believed  to  be  the  mantle  of  the  Prophet, 
Ibid,  p.  543.  Ikhshid,  the  viceroy  of  Egypt,  used  a  siVery  qafatan 
like  that  of  the  Caliph  and  forbade  its  use  to  others  (Tallquist,  30). 
[3]  Mas'ndi,  VIII,  169,  377.  The  Mamluk  Sultans  wanted  closely  to 
imitate  the  dress  of  the  old  Caliphs,  which  was  as  follows  :  [1]  a  black 
turban,  the  point  of  which  fell  between  the  shoulders  ;  [2]  a  coat, 
(Jubbah)  of  black  silk  with  fairly  wide-sleeves  and  without  embroidery  ; 
[3]  a  Beduin  sword  carried  according  to  Beduin  fashion  on  the  left  side 
and  suspended  by  a  belt  passing  over  the  right  shoulder.  This  sword 
is  said  to  have  been  the  sword  of  'Omar  I  (Qatremere,  Mameloucs,  I, 
133).  [4]  It  was  200  dirhams  and  was  distributed  among  the  poor 
women  residing  near  the  Palace  (Wuz,  19).  Abul  Mahasin  states  that 
Ibn  Tulun  spent  1000  dinars  daily  in  alms.  Many  of  these  Tulunide 
figures  are  purely  imaginary.  [5]  Misk  V  294.  The  Abbasid  crown- 
prince,  at  the  end  of  the  4/10th  century — so  also  the  Amirs  of  the 
Empire — carried  two  banners,  one  black  and  another  white,  Abul 
Mahasin,  II,  34  ;  Arib,  111  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  43b,  112b. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  133 

The  Fatimid  Caliphs  at  Cairo  adopted  the  (Alid  colour, 
which  was  white.  Their  banners  were  white  or  blood  red 
and  a  poet  likens  them  to  anemones  (Abu'l  Mahasin,  II, 
460  ;  Sabusti,  theBook  of  Cloisters,  Berlin,  fol.  128  b.) 
The  coronation  of  the  Caliph  took  place  thus  :  he  attached 
his  banner  to  a  pole  and  received  the  signet  of  office.  It 
was  marked  by  absolute  Arab  simplicity  (Misk,  V,  454). 
But  in  the  case  of  Amirs  the  coronation  was  a  real  one, 
according  to  the  old  heathen  fashion  :  a  diadem,  set  with 
precious  stones,  was  put  on  their  head  and  a  neck-chain 
and  two  gold  arm-buckles  also  set  with  precious  stones, 
were  put  upon  their  person*.  In  the  3rd/9th  century 
the  usual  court  livery  was  red.  For  a  special  state  occasion 
the  Caliph  directed  that  every  one  should  be  supplied 
with  a  new  and  different  coloured  dress  in  addition  to  the 
red  jacket  and  the  pointed  cap2.  At  solemn  audiences  in 
the  4th/10th  century  the  attendants  stood  before  the 
Caliph,  attired  partly  in  black  and  partly  in  white3-  Over 
the  Abbasids,  as  over  the  Fatimids,  hovered  the  state- 
umbrella  (  Sliamsliat  al-Khalifah  ;  in  Egypt,  Mizallah  ). 
Of  this  they  saw  or  heard  very  little  at  Baghdad.  In 
332/943  this  state-umbrella  was  even  carried  in  front  of 
the  Amir  as  a  signal  mark  of  honour*.  In  the  African 
Cairo  it  was  reckoned  as  a  symbol  of  majesty  and  matched 
the  dress  of  the  Caliph5.  And,  indeed,  the  highest  token 

[Ij  The  (Taj)  crown  was  set  with  precious  stones,  such  as  was 
Saif-ud-Dawlah's  [prince  of  Aleppo]  at  the  reception  of  the  Greek 
ambassador  in  353/964  [Yahya  b.  Sa'id,  fol  Ma].  The  gold  neck- 
chains  were  even  in  ancient  Egypt  a  distinguishing  token  of  a  warrior 
[ZDMG,  41,  211].  They  were  conferred  as  a  mark  of  honour,  about 
300/912,  on  victorious  generals  [Arib,  35].  The  conqueror  of  the 
Karmathians  got  two  gold  arm-buckles-  in  addition  to  the  neck-chain 
[Arib,  3].  Ikhshid,  the  ruler  of  Egypt,  seems  to  be  the  firsb  prince  who, 
as  such,  was  invested  with  a  neck-chain  and  two  arm  buckles.  In 
324/935  the  Caliph  sent  them  through  his  Wazir.  The  bazars  and  the 
streets  of  old  Cairo  were  decorated  with  trappings  and  curtains  and 
carpets  ;  the  doors  of  the  chief  mosque  were  covered  with  gold-embroid- 
ered brocade,  Thus  with  his  insignia  rode  Ikhshid  to  prayer,  his 
Wazir  by  his  side.  Tallquist,  17  f.  His  predecessor  Khumarwaihi 
had  received  only  the  crown  but  no  chains  [Kindi,  240].  Neck-chains 
and  arm -buckles  continued  even  under  the  Fatimids  as  marks  of  honour 
for  generals,  and  this  in  spite  of  the  canonists  of  Islam,  who  severely 
forbade  the  use  of  gold  ornaments.  [Khuda  Bukhsh,  politics  in  Islam, 
p.  220  and  the  note.  TrJ  [2]  Sabusti,  Berlin,  fol.  68b.  [3]  Kit.  al- 
Uyun.  IV,  236. 

[4]  Kit,  al-Uyun%  IV,  fol.  225b.  [5]  Maqrizi  Khitat,  II,  280 
according  to  Musabbihi  [d.  420/1029]  ;  Abul  Mahasin  285  ff,  Wusten- 
feld,  Qalqashandi,  173.  To  the  barbarous  practices  of  the  Fatimids 
belongs  also  the  superstitious  carrying  of  the  coffin  of  their  ancestors 
on  campaigns  [Ibn  Taghribardy,  10]. 


134          THE  EENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

of  the  supremacy  of  the  Caliph  of  Baghdad  was    the  an- 
nouncement by  drum,  timbal  and  tiumpet  of  the  five  daily 
prayers  by  the  guards  of  his  palace.     Only  at  Court-mourn- 
ing did  this  announcing-music  stop  fora  few  days'.  Desper- 
ately did   the   Caliph    defend    this    supreme    prerogative 
against  the  Amirs,  but  in   vain.     From   368/976   Adad-ud- 
Dawlah  caused  the  drum  to  be  beaten   at   the  gate  of  his 
residence  at   three  prayer-times ;  from   418/1027  Jalal-ud- 
Dawlah   extended  it    to    four    prayer-times ;    and  finally, 
in  the  year  396/1014,  like  the  Caliphs,   the   Amir  had   the 
drum    beaten    at    all    the    five    prayer- times *.    Like    his 
costume,   unostentatious  was   the   title  of  the  Caliph  :  the 
simple  "  Prince  of  the   Faithful2."    But   since   the   second 
"  Abbasid — according  to  what  precedent  we  know  not— the 
Caliph  received  a  special  pious  name  immediately  after  the 
homage   was   done  to  him*.    In   322/933  the   Caliph  asked 
his   friend   As-Suli,   the   savant     and  famous  chess-player, 
to  draw  up  a  list  of  titles  with  a   view  to   enabling   him   to 
select  one  out  of  them.     Suli — we  have  it   from   him — sub- 
mitted to  the  Caliph  thirty  titles  with  a  recommendation  in 
favour  of  Al  Murtadha  billah  ('Pleasing  unto   God'/'     He 
was  indeed  so  very  sure  of  the  acceptance  of  his  recommenda- 
tion that  he  actually  composed  a  long  poem  with  the  rhyme 
'  Murtadha.'     But   the   Caliph   rejected   the  lecommenda- 
tion   on   the   ground  that    an   unfortunate  pretender  had 
once  borne  that   title,   and  he   selected   the   title   of  '   Al- 
Kadhi  for  himself.    The  poem  was   flung  into  water  but 
Suli  made  use  of  it  in  his  history   and  thus   saved  it   for 
posterity.    Later  he  composed  a  poem   with   the  rhyme 
Kadhi  but,  unfortunately,  it  is  lost. 

The  Secretary  of  the  Caliph  Qadir  (381-422/991-1031) 
for  the  first  time  introduced  the  circumscription  i  His 
most  holy,  prophetic  presence  '  for  the  Caliph — a  circum- 
cription  which  became  the  general  fashion.  Even  the 
extraordinary  practice  of  referring  to  the  ruler  as  "Service" 
goes  back  to  this  Secretary.  Says  Hilal  :  I  have  seen  in 
the  hand-writing  of  the  Qadhi  ibn  Abi's-sawrib  :  '  the 
servant  of  the  high  "  Service  "  of  such  and  such*. 

(1)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  114  a,  175b,  197  b  ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  IX, 
215.  (2)  The  adoption  of  the  appellation  of  Imam-al-Haq  by  al- 
Mustakfi,  in  334/945  (along  with  the  title  of '  Prince  of  the  Faithful/) 
was  but  a  challenge  to  the  claims  of  the  Shi'ite  and  the  Patmid  Imams, 
Ibn-al-Jauzi,  fol.  73  b;  Abul  Mahasin,  II.  308.  [3]  The  Samanid  rulers', 
while  living  bore  a  different  name  from  that  which  they  bore  after  death* 
HAtfc.  337.  [4]  Hilal  (447/1066;,  148  ff. 


TSE  RENAISSANCE  of  ISLM          135 

In  full  strength  was  the  rage  for  titles  among  the 
Amirs,  the  highest  dignitaries,  and  the  official  circles.  All 
were  distinguished  as  friends,  helpers,  supporters  of  the 
"dynasty1.11  Al-Biruni  (d.  447/1055)  says:  When  the 
'Abbasids  had  decorated  their  assistants,  friends,  enemies 
indiscriminately  with  vain  titles  compounded  with  the 
word  'Dawlah',  their  empire  perished3. 

In  the  second  half  of  the  4th /10th  century  they  took 
to  double  titles.  ,Adad-ud-Dawlah  (supporter  of  the 
dynasty)9  was  also  adorned  with  the  title  of  '  Taju'l 
Millah  '  (Crown  of  Eeligion).  And  finally  to  three  titles. 
Baha-ud-Dawlah  (Beauty  of  Religion)  was  called  ,  Diya 
al  Millah  '  (Light  of  Eeligion)  and  'Ghyath  al-Ummah  ' 
(Help  of  the  community).  Everywhere  these  Dawlah- 
titles  flourished  :  among  the  Samanids,  among  the  rules 
of  the  North  and  the  East,  as  also  among  the  Fatimids. 
In  382/992  the  Turkish  Bogra  Khan  assumed  the  title  of 
Shihab-ud-Dawlah  (Flame  of  the  dynasty).  Even  entirely 
un-Islamic,  nay  quite  blasphemous,  designations,  came 
into  fashion.  The  Buwayyids  wore  the  first  to  confer 
on  their  Wazirs  titles  which  really  belonged  to  God  :  the 
only  one  (Auhad) ;  the  most  excellent  of  the  excellent 
(Kafi'l  Kufat ;  the  unique  among  the  excellent  (auhad 
al-Kufat),  Other  princes  called  them  even  '  Prince  of  the 
World  '  (Amir  al-,Alam)  and  '  Lord  of  the  Princes '  (Sayyid 
al  Uraara).  And  it  is  precisely  this  which  calls  for  Biruni's 
censure  :  May  God  inflict  ignominy  on  them  in  this  world 
and  show  them  and  to  others  their  weakness*. 

Finally  the  Caliph  Qadir  (381-422/991-1030)  is  said  to 
have  conferred  on  Mahniud  of  Ghazni,  for  the  first  time, 
the  most  fateful  of  all  titles— the  title  of  Sultan'5.  But 
when  in  423/1031  the  Amir  of  Baghdad  sought  the  title 
of  'As-Sultan  al-Mu'azzam  Malik-al-Umam  '  (the  Powerful 
ruler,  King  of  the  nations),  Mawardi,  the  plenipotentiary 
of  the  Caliph,  refused  it  on  the  ground  that  the  '  Sultan 
al-Mu'azzam  '  was  none  other  than  the  Caliph  himself, 
The  second  portion  was  modified  into  *  Malik-ud-Dawlah ' 

(1)  Wali-ud-Dawlah,  the  oldest  of  these  Dawlah  titles,  was  con- 
ferred upon  the  Wazir  Abul  Qasim  [d.  291/903],  Even  in  Egypt 
we  came  across  such  a  title  in  286/899  [Biruni,  132  ff ;  Ibn  Sa'id  fol. 
113  b.  [2]  (Sachau,  129.  Eng.  tr.  TrJ. 

[3]  d.  372/982.  [4]  Sachau,  131  Tr.  [5]  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  92: 
1  All  Dede,  foT.  89  a,  according  to  the  Tarikh  al-Khulaia  of  Suyuti. 
[Titles  in  the  Boman  Empire,  Gibbon,  II,  169,  Bury's  ed  .  Tr.] 


136  THE  EENAIS8ANCE  OF  ISLAM 

(King  of  the  Dynasty)7.  And  when,  429/1037,  the 
Buwayyid  ruler  arrogated  to  himself  the  very  ancient 
heathen  title  of  *  Shahinshah  allAzam,  Malik  al-muluk' 
the  people  rebelled  and  pelted  with  stones  the  preacher 
who  announced  it  at  prayer. 

Although  the  court-theologians  sought  to  prove  that 
'  King  of  the  Kings  of  the  Earth  '  was  no  divine  title,  yet 
the  old  traditional  title  of '  Chief  Qadhi',  *  Judge  of  Judges  ' 
was  strongly  taken  exception  to  by  serious-minded  people, 
and  the  well-known  Mawardi,  author  and  publicist,  act- 
ually threw  up  the  post  of  a  judge  on  that  account'1. 
But  this  title  survives  even  to  day.  Hilal  as-Sabi  did  not 
approve  even  of  the  title  of  Al-Ghalib  (The  Conqueror) 
which,  in  391/1001,  the  Caliph  conferred  upon  his  successor. 
He  supported  his  objection  by  a  reference  to  the  well 
known  inscription  on  Al  ham  bra  (There  is  no  conqueror 
(Ghalib)  save  Allah ;/. 

The  power  of  conferring  titles  was  the  exclusive  pre- 
rogative of  the  Caliph.  From  him  alone  they  derived 
their  validity  and  for  this  prerogative  he  was  amply  paid. 
In  fact  towards  the  end  of  the  Ith/lOth  century  it  consti- 
tuted his  main  source  of  income.  After  much  bargaining 
the  Amir  of  Baghdad  had  to  pay  in  423/1031  for  the  title 
of  '  Malik-ud-Dawlah  '  2000  dinars,  30,000  dirhams,  10 
sus  of  floral  siik,  100  pieces  of  valuable  brocade  and  100 
pieces  of  ordinary  brocade,  200  maim  (weight)  of  aloes, 
10  mann  of  camphor,  1,000  mithqal  (weight)  of  ambar, 
100  mithqal  of  musk  and  500  Chinese  dishes— besides 
other  gifts  to  individual  courtiers5. 

In  other  directions,  too,  court  etiquette  had  markedly 
developed.  In  fact  it  assumed  the  form  which  it  has 
retained  up  to  the  present  time.  About  200/800  Ma'mun 
was  addressd  as  '  Thou  '  like  any  one  else.6  About  300/ 
900  Muqtadir  too  was  mostly  thus  addressed,7  although 
the  practice  of  referring  to  the  Caliph  in  the  third 
parson,  such  as  '  Prince  of  the  Faithful '  etc.,  had  already 
come  into  fashion.  At  the  end  of  the  century  it  was  not 

U)  Ibn  al:Jauzi,  foL  184  b.  (2)  Gibbon,  Bury's  ed.  Vol  II., 
p.  282  Tr.  (3)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  193  a  ;  Subki,  II,  305.  He  belonged 
to  the  table-companions  of  the  newly-title  Amir.  According  to  this 
history  he  kept  himself  aloof  from  him.  But  the  prince  sent  for  him 
and  yet  his  relation  with  him  did  not  change.  His  firmness  redounded 
to  his  credit.  (4)  Suli  finds  fault  with  this  laqab  (surname)  even  for 
the  Caliph  as  it  is  forbidden  by  Surah  49,  V.  II.  See  Wuz,  420  ;  Auraq 
Paris,  Arab,  4836,  3. 

(5)     Ibn  al-Jauzi,  184b.     (6)     Ibn  Taifur.  ed.  Keller. 

(7)    For  instance,  Wuz,  229;  Aribt  176. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  137 

considered  good  taste  to  address  an  educated  man  by 
such  a  familiar  term  as  c  Thou  '.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
4th/10th  century  a  governor  is  for  the  first  time  addressed 
at  the  reception  of  the  Caliph  by  a  name  (ism)  which  has 
a  somewhat  official  ring  about  it,  but  which  to  express 
greater  friendliness  is  changed  into  his  Kunyah  (father  of 
so  and  so/.  In  the  5th/llth  century  even  the  Caliph 
himself  is  not  supposed  to  address  any  of  his  friends  in 
public  except  by  name — the  use  of  Knnyali  (father  of  so 
and  so)  being  reserved  for  private  conversation2.  Al- 
Ma'inun  shook  hands  with  the  patriarch  Dionysius  as  he 
was  wont  to  do  with  all  whom  he  wished  to  honour1. 
When  the  Field  Marshal  Munis  took  leave  of  the  Caliph 
at  the  beginizmg  of  the  4th/10bh  century  he  kissed  the 
Caliph's  hand''.  As  a  special  mark  of  honour  they  kissed 
the  feet  of  those  higher  in  rank ;"  friends  of  equal  status 
kissed  the  shoulder5.  Thus  did  the  servant-girls  offer 
welcome  to  Telomachos,  kissing  his  shoulder  and  the  crown 
of  his  head6'.  On  special  ceremonial  occasions  the  Amir 
Bejkem  kissed  the  Caliph  Radhi's  hand  and  feet7. 

The  old  Arab  Muslims  regarded  kissing  the  ground  in 
front  of  a  man  as  an  invasion  of  God's  privilege.  The 
Byzantine  ambassadors  standing  before  the  Caliph  Muq- 
tadir  in  305/917  would  not  do  so,  as  the  Muslims  were 
excused  this  part  of  the  court  etiquette  at  Byzantium. 
In  a  story  dating  from  the  4th/10th  century  a  timid  clerk 
is  represented  as  wishing  to  kiss  the  ground  before  the 
chief  of  the  police,  who  rebukes  him  thus  :  Don't  do  that. 
'Tis  a  custom  among  tyrants8. 

In  the  30th  year  of  the  same  century  the  Amir  of  Egypt 
threw  himself  on  the  ground  before  the  Caliph.  When 
Ikhshid  met  the  Caliph,  the  former  had  already  dismounted 
and,  like  an  attendant,  had  a  sword,  a  belt  and  a  quiver. 
Several  times  he  kissed  the  ground,  then  he  stepped 
forward  and  kissed  the  Caliph's  hand9.  Muhammad 
Khaqan  called  out  to  him  :  Mount  the  horse,  Muhammad! 
then,  again :  Mount  the  horse,  Abu  Bakr !  He  is  said  to  have 
done  this  under  instructions  from  the  Caliph.  But  Ikh- 
shid remained  standing  before  the  Caliph,  leaning  on  his 


(1)  Ibn  Said,  ed.  Tallquist,  40.  (2)  Ibn  Abi  Usaibah.  I.  216.  (3) 
Mich.  Syrus.  (4)  Hamadani,  Paris,  fol.  201  a.  (5)  Wuz  358.  (6) 
Odyssey,  XXI,  224.  (7)  as-Suli,  54,  423,  the  driver  of  the  swine  and 
cattle-heard  does  the  same  to  Odysseus  XXI,  234.  (8)  Al-Khatib, 
Tarikh  Baghdad,  ed.  Salon,  56 ;  Misk,  V,  124  briefly  states:  'they  kissed 
the  ground '.  (9)  Al-Faragh.  1,  54. 


138  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

sword.  But  when,  eventually,  being  induced  to  mount 
his  horse  he  attended  on  the  Caliph  with  a  whip  over  his 
shoulder, — a  thing  he  had  never  done  before,  Ikhshid 
boasted  of  this  and  the  Caliph  was  delighted.  Thereupon 
the  Caliph  spoke  to  Ikhshid  :  For  thirty  years  I  confer 
the  province  upon  thee  and  with  thee  I  associate  Angur 
as  thy  Governor.  On  this  Ikhshid  kissed  the  ground 
several  times,  and  both  on  his  son's  behalf  and  his  own  for 
being  addressed  by  his  surname  made  a  similar  present  to 
the  Caliph  as  he  had  made  before7. 

On  the  coronation  of  the  Amir  fAdad-ud-Dawlah  in 
369/979  i he  court  ceremonial  was  seen  at  its  best.  At 
the  reception  hall  sat  the  Caliph  armed  witli  the  Caliph's 
sword,  before  him  lay  the  Qur'an  of  'Othman,  on  his 
shoulder  rested  the  mantle  and  in  his  hand  lay  the  staff 
of  the  Prophet,  On  either  side  stood  the  nobility.  The 
Turks  and  the  Dailamites  lined  up  unarmed  and  then 
followed  their  Prince.  When  it  was  told  to  'Adad-ud- 
Dawlah  that  the  eye  of  the  Caliph  was  upon  him  he  kissed 
the  ground.  Dismayed  at  this  form  of  obeisance  a  General 
asked  him  in  Persian  :  0  King.  IsheGod?'Adad-ud-Dawlah 
then  stepped  forward  and  twice  kissed  the  ground,  and 
twice  did  the  Caliph  invite  him  to  come  nearer  and  yet 
nearer  to  him.  Then  he  kissed  the  feet  of  the  Caliph. 
The  Caliph  thereupon  laid  his  hand  upon  him  and  thrice 
told  him  :  Be  seated  ! — and  yet  he  would  not  sit.  Then 
said  the  Caliph  :  I  have  sworn  that  thou  shalt  sit  down. 
Then  he  kissed  the  stool  placed  to  the  right  of  the  Caliph 
and  sat  down.  The  Caliph  thereupon  solemnly  made 
over  to  him  the  administration  of  all  his  lands,  This  was 
followed  by  his  retirement  into  an  adjoining  room  where 
he  was  invested  with  robes  of  honour  ;  the  crown  was  placed 
on  his  head  and  the  banner  handed  over  to  him.  Three 
days  after  the  Caliph  sent  him  presents,  among  them 
a  mantle  of  Egyptian  cotton,  a  gold  dish  and  a  crystal 
flask.  The  drink  in  the  flask1  \\as  so  stale  and  scanty 
that  it  seemed  as  if  someone  had  drunk  out  of  it,  although 
it  was  tied  with  a  silken  string.  In  Fatimid  Egypt  ven- 
eration for  the  Caliph  went  still  further.  When  in  366/976 
the  appointment-letter  of  the  new  Qadhi  was  read  out 
in  the  mosque  of  Al-Azhar  'the  reader1,  whenever  the 
name  of  Mu'izz  or  any  one  of  his  House  was  mentioned, 
made  a  sign  to  the  audience  to  prostrate  themselves  on  the 


(1)    Tallquist,  40.   (2)    Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  116a.  (3)    Ibn    al-Jauzi, 
fpl.   H6a, 


liENAISSANCti  Of  ISLAM  139 

ground7.  Likewise  on  the  same  occasion  in  the  year 
368/1008,  the  Qadhi  kissed  the  ground  each  time  the  name 
of  Al- Hakim  was  mentioned*.  Indeed  the  people  in  the 
bazar  prostrated  themselves  whenever  this  Caliph's  name 
was  mentioned  (Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  150  b.).  But  when  this 
very  Caliph  reverted  to  the  old  Islamic  ideals  he  forbade 
kissing  of  the  ground  before  him,  and  the  use  of  'Maulana' 
(our  Lord)  in  reference  to  him  But  under  his  successor 
Zahir  the  older  practices,  such  as  they  existed  under  his 
forebears,  revived  (Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  132  b.). 

Most  of  the  people  prostrated  themselves  even  before 
Ibn  Ammar,  the  administrator  of  the  empire  '•  the  select 
few  however  kissed  his  stirrup,  and  those  that  were  inti- 
mate his  hand  and  knee*'. 

About  this  time  a  courtier  of  the  ruler  of  Bukhara 
is  held  up  as  the  highest  model  of  court-propriety.  While 
talking  to  his  ruler,  a  scorpion  crept  into  his  shoe  and 
stung  him  several  times  but  ho  remained  unmoved.  Only 
when  he  had  done  with  him  and  was  alone,  did  he  pull  off 
his  shoe''.  At  the  court  of  Ikhshid  an  elephant  and  a 
giraffe  were  exhibited.  All,  slaves,  soldiers,  servants 
were  taken  up  with  them,  but  the  eyei  of  Kafur  never  left 
those  of  his  master  for  fear  ho  might  require  him  and  find 
him  perchance  inattentive'5.  In  33'2/94'i  Mas'udi  loves 
to  dwell  upon  such  court-etiquette.  He  speaks  with 
praise  of  a  Hudailite  who,  in  conversation  with  the  Caliph 
Saffah,  did  not  stir  when  a  storm  blew  a  tile  into  the  middle 
of  the  hall6,  and  of  a  courtier  of  a  Persian  king  who  on  a 
ride  was  BO  engrossed  in  listening  to  the  story  of  the  Prince 
that  he  and  his  horse  fell  into  a  sti-eam.  Ever  since  that 
incident,  says  the  historian,  he  enjoyed  the  king's  fullest 
confidence,7  * 

In  official  correspondence,  even  among  themselves, 
the  Amirs  speak  of  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful  in 
terms  of  highest  respect,  referring  to  him  as  'Our  Lord' 
(Maulana):  They  even  speak  of  themselves  as  his 
Freedmen'  (Maula)8.  Even  in  letters  to  a  third  person 

(1)  Supplement  to  Kindi,  598.  (2)  Prof.  Margoliouth  writes  to  me  : 
The  reference  given  by  Mez  to  Al-Kindi  is  inaccurate  (pp.  136  ;  138). 
His  'der*  can  only  mean  the  Qadhi.  (3)  Maqrizi,  Kliitat  II,  36.  (4) 
Ibn  al-Ahtir,  VIII,  196  ;  in  Muh.  cl-Udaba.  (I,  117J  this  story  is  related 
of  'Abdul  Malik  and  Hajjaj.  (5)  Tallquist,  47.  (6)  Muh.  al-Udaba 
relates  this  very  story  of  a  Samanid  courtier.  (7)  Mas'udi,  VI,  122ff. 
(8)  They  no  longer  speak  of  themselves  as  slaves  (Abd),  as  did  Tekin  of 
Egypt  even  about  the  year  300/912.  (Uyun  al-Hadaiq,  IV  Berlin, 
fol.  125b). 


140  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

they  always  begin  with  the  formula  :  Our  lord,  the  Prince 
of  the  Faithful  is  well, — God  be  praised  or  thanked  for 
it'.  Indeed  everything  is  represented  as  his  command2. 
In  the  distant  Kai,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  modern  Tehran, 
the  Wazir  presents  to  his  prince  on  New  Year's  day  a 
huge  gold  medal  bearing  on  one  side  the  names  of  the 
Caliph,  the  Prince  and  the  place  of  coinage,  and  on  the 
other  some  verses3.  In  his  personal  intercourse  with  the 
Amirs  the  Caliph  had  to  experience  the  effects  of  his 
dwindling  power.  The  Turk  Bejkem  never  drank  at  home 
without  seeing  that  his  cupbearer  drank  first  out  of  the 
vessel ;  similarly  when  the  Amir  dined  with  Al-Radhi, 
the  Caliph  tasted  all  food  and  drink  before  the  Amir,  and 
could  not  be  induced  to  alter  this  practice  even  at  Bejkem's 
earnest  entreaty*. 

The  Caliph's  dignity  sufferred  most  under  AI-Mustakfi 
(333-334/944-946),  who  fell  entirely  into  the  clutches  of 
an  ambitious  Persian  woman.  She  ruled  the  Court  and 
the  staff,  and  the  palace  was  thrown  open  to  all  indiscrim- 
inately, even  to  those  personally  unknown  to  the  Caliph. 
The  Caliph  received  them  all.  For  the  love  of  thip  women 
he  showered  upon  the  Amir  Tn/un  unheard  of  honours 
and  prerogatives.  Tuzuu  was  permitted  to  ride  in  the 
palace-grounds  where  not  even  a  Caliph  had  ridden  before. 
Even  the  state-umbrella  of  the  Caliph  was  borne  before 
him5. 

Unfortunately  for  the  Caliph  the  Dailamites  were 
Shi'ites  and  as  such  had  no  respect  for  him.  Hitherto  the 
palace  revolutionaries  had  merely  deposed  and  killed 
Caliphs  but  now,  for  the  first  time,  he  was  subjected  to 
public  indignities.  In  334/945  when  he  sat  in  Solemn 
session  surrounded  by  his  people  according  to  their  respec- 
tive rank,  MuSzz-ud-I)awlah  came  up  to  him,  kissed 
the  gruond  before  him  and  then  the  hand  of  the  Caliph, 
lo  !t wo  of  his  Dailamite  soldiers  rushed  in,  loudly  uttering 
something  in  Persian.  The  Caliph,  presuming  that  they 
wished  to  kiss  his  hand,  stretched  it  out  to  them.  And 
instantly  they  seized  him,  brought  him  down  to  the  ground, 
tied  his  neck  with  his  turban  and  dragged  him  out  into  the 
hall.  Muizz-ud-Dawlah  sprang  to  his  feet.  Wild  was 

[1]  B.  G.  Rasa'il  oE  Sabi,  Leiden,  fol.  76  b.  [2]  Ibid,  foL  124  b  ; 
we  have  put  the  matter  up  before  the  '  Prince  of  the  Faithful '  and  he 
has  thus  issued  his  orders,  etc.  Ibid  fol,  202  Muiz-ud-Dawla  to  the 
Yamanites :  tho  'Prince  of  the  FaithJul,' — may  God  strengthen!  him! — 
signifies  his  intention  to  us  and  urges  us  on  to  such  and  such  things. 
[3]  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  41.  [4]  as-Suli,  Auraq,  Paris,  54.  [5]  Kit.  al- 
Uyun,  iv,  222  if. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  141 

the  confussion  and  shrill  the  trumpet-sound'.  The  Caliph 
was  taken  to  the  Sultan's  palace  and  then  blinded2.  But 
the  clever  and  circumspect  'Adad-ud-Dawlah  showed 
honour  to  the  Caliph  once  again,  a  thing  which  had  com- 
pletely gone  out  of  fashion'7.  And  yet  even  he,  when  he 
proceeded  to  Baghdad  in  370/980,  desired  the  Caliph  to 
meet  him  at  the  .  Bridge  of  An-Nahrawan.  "This  was 
the  first  time  that  a  Caliph  went  out  to  meet  an  Amir*." 

At  the  time  of  Al-Mtitadid  (279-289/892-901)  the  court 
establishment  consisted  of: — 

1.  The  Princes  of  the  Caliph's  house. 

2.  The   Palace-Staff.— About    1000    dinars  was   the 
daily  expenditure.    Of  this  sum  700  was  meant  for  the 
whites,  to   whom  all  the  actual  porters  (Bawwab)  belonged, 
and  300  for  the  blacks,   mostly  the  Caliph's  slaves5.     As 
the  latter  received  only  a  small   wage  they  were  provided 
with  bread. 

3.  Freeflmtn. — These  were  mostly    the  former  white 
slaves    of    the   Caliph's   father    (Manialik).     From  among 
them  were   recruited  25  chamberlains   (Jlnjjal)),   and   their 
deputies   (Khulafa  al-Hitjjab    500    in    number*.     At    the 
last  battle  in  which  al-Muqtadir   took  part   one   of  these 
threw   himself  upon   his   master  to  protect   him  and  was 
killed7.     In   329/940   the  title  of   chief   Hajib    (Hajib  al- 
Ilujjal)  was  for  the  first  time  conferred8. 

4.  The  Guards. — In  the  Baghdad  garrison   the  re- 
giments, under  different    commanders,    consisting    partly 
oi   their    armed  slaves,   formed  definite    units, — £.//.,  the 
regiment    of    the    Greek    Johannes     Janis     (Janiseyyah), 
the   regiment   of   the   eunuch    Muflih   (Muflihiyah).     The 
other  units   consisted  mostly  of  the  royal  slaves,  or  were 
chosen   from   among   the   expert   horsemen  and  archers  of 
the    royal    army   ('Askar    al-Khassah\     Out    of    these   a 
regiment   of  body-quards,   MuJcUtarin  (the   selected),   was 
chosen.    The  body-guard  of  Khumarwaihi  in  Egypt  was 

(1)  Misk  (Eng.  tr.)  Vol.  V.,  pp.  89—90  Tr. 

(2)  Yahya  ibn  Said.  fol.  86  b :  Misk,  V,  124. 

(3)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  339. 

(4)  Ibn  al-Jauzi.  117  a, 

(5)  According  to   an    authority  not    always   very   reliable   in   its 
computations  these  blacks  numbered  4,000  strong  (Tarikh  Baghdad,    ed. 
Salmon,  51). 

(6)  Cf.  Misk,  V,  541 ;   T.  Baghdad,  ed.  Salmon,  49,  61. 

(7)  Misk,  V,  379. 

(8)  Abu'l-Mahasin,  II,  295. 


142  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

also    called    "the    selected7."     They  did    military   service 
at  audiences  and  acted  as  escorts  of  the  Caliph. 

5.  The  rest     of    the    court- staff    were    the   private 
secretaries,   Quran-readers,  Muazzins,  astronomers,  oflicors- 
in -charge  of  clocks,   story-tellers,   jesters,   couriers,  stand- 
ard-bearers,  drummers,    trumpeters,    water-carriers,    work- 
men from   goldsmiths    to    carpenters   and    saddlors  ;   the 
five  marshals  under  an  equerry,   the   fifth   being  in  charge 
of  camels  ;   hunters,  menagerie-keepers,   valets-de-chambre, 
cooks,   physicians-in-ordinary,     crew    of    the    court-boat, 
lamp-lighters,  etc. 

6.  Ladies  :  for    their     daily    expenses     100     dinars 
were  assigned2.    We  have  no  correct   information   as   to 
their   exact  number.     Khawarczmi    asserts    that  in.   Muta- 
wakkil's   harem   there   were  12,000   ladies'",   but  the  much 
older  Mafl'udi   fixes  the  number  at   4,000,     and   one  MS. 
reads   only     400 ''.     About   the  year  300/912    tho  harems 

.were  under  the  control  of  two  stewardesses,  one  the 
Caliph's,  the  other  his  mother's.  Prisoners  of  State  of  high 
rank  were  committed  to  the  custody  of  the  former  for  mild 
incarceration  ;  as  was  the  case  with  the  Wa/ir  Ibn  al- 
Furat  in  the  year  300/912',  and  with  tho  Hamadaiiicl 
Prince  and  the  Wazir  'Ali  ibn  'Isa  in  the  year  303/915*. 

The  Caliphs'  consorts  were  mostly  Greek  or  Turkish 
slave-girls  ;  their  origin  made  no  difference  ;  and  this  pro- 
duced kaleidoscopic  uncertainty  in  the  offices  connected 
with  the  court  and  the  higher  administrative  posts. 
Every  one  of  these  ladies  sought  to  confer  as  brilliant  a 
distinction  as  possible  on  her  relations  and  kinsmen. 
Already  the  father  of  Rashid  had  introduced,  at  court  his 
brother-in-law,  first  a  slave  and  later  a  freedman  ;  subse- 
quently he  appointed  him  Governor  of  Yaman7.  The 
maternal  uncle  of  Muqtadir,  a  Greek,  bearing  the  slave- 
name  Q-harib  (the  rare  one),  exercised  great  influence  at 
court  and  was  addressed  as  'Amir'8.  The  chief  court- 
stewardess  of  the  Caliph's  mother,  a  Hashimite,  succeeded 
in  securing  the  position  of  "Marshal  of  the  nobility  (Naquib) 
of  the  'Abbasids  and  the  "Alids"  for  her  brother.  But 
the  entire  nobility  opposed  this  appointment  with  the  result 


(1)  Abu'-Mahasin,  II,  ('5. 

(2)  Wuz.llff.  (3)  Khwarezmi,  Raza'il,  137.  (4)  Masudi,  VII,  276. 
(&)    Arib,  109,   Waz.   105.   (6)   'Uyun  el-Hada'iq,  Berlin,  fol  132a 

(See  Bowon,  'All  ibn  Isat  p.  159  Tr.)  (7)   Ya'qubi,  II,   481,  (8)  Arib  49 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  143 

that  he  had  to  surrender  his  office,  the  most  distinguished 
one  at  court,  in  favour  of  the  son  of  the  former  incumbent'. 

The  experience  of  the  Caliph's  mother,  as  the  pivot  of  court- 
intrigues  and  wire-pulling,  was  so  bitter  that  the  choice  of 
the  next  Caliph  was  determined  by  the  fact  that  he  had 
no  mother  living  at  the  time  of  his  accession3. 

About  the  year  300/912,  11,000  eunuchs  are  said  to 
have  been  at  Court  * ;  according  to  another  account  7,000 
and  700  chamberlains*.  Whereas  an  authentic  old  report 
fixes  at  700  the  total  number  of  eunuchs  and  court- 
attendants5. 

As  at  the  Old  Persian  court*7  the  sovereigns  of  the  late 
Eoman  Empire  gathered  together  at  meals  and  at  carous- 
ing banquets  companions  whom  they  called  *  Friends  of 
the  CrcsarV  About  200/813  the  Caliph  Ma'mun,  on  his 
return  to  Baghdad,  also  had  a  list  prepared  of  men  whom 
he  wished  to  entertain  at  his  table  (Nudama)*.  Ac- 
cording to  the  wish  of  the  Caliph  the  list  included  literati, 
savants,  courtiers,  military  men.  Form  this  list  of  the 
Nudama  of  the  Caliphs  Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah  only  selected 
the  physician  Sinan  ibn  Thabit.  The  table-talks  of  the 
Caliph  Mu'tamid  (253-279/869-892)  have  been  collected 
and  preserved0.  The  Table-Companions  drew  a  salary10. 

As-Suli  describes  the  first  gathering  of  the  Table- 
companions  of  Ar-Badhi  322-326/933-940).  They  sat 
in  strict  order.  To  the  right  sat  first  the  old  Prince 
Ishaq  ibn  al-Mutamid  ;  then  As-Suli,  the  savant  and  chess- 
player ;  then  a  philologar,  private-tutor  of  a  Prince,  and 
Ibn  Haradun,  scion  of  an  old  court  nobility.  To  the  left 
sat  three  literary  courtiers  of  the  family  of  Munajjim  and 
two  Beridis  of  high  official  descent.  The  proceedings  be- 
gan with  the  recitation  of  laudatory  poems.  This  was  fol- 
lowed by  a  complaint  from  Ar-Radhi  regarding  the  heavi- 
ness of  the  burden  his  new  dignity  had  imposed  upon  him 

(1)     Arib,±l.     (%)  Arib,  181  ;  Kit.  al-Uyun,   IV,  131   b.     She  had 
died  immediately  after  the  birth  of  Al-Qadir.     Kit.  al-Uyun,  IV,  66  b. 

(3)  Abn'l-Mahasin,  II,   482;  Tarikh  Baghdad,    49.     According  to 
the  Qadhi  et-Tanukhi  (d.  447/1055). 

(4)  Tarikh  Baghdad,  51   (5)   Sabusti,   Book   of  Coisters,  fol.  68b, 
(6)  [Says   Gibbon   (Bury's  Ed.   Vol.   II,  p.  283;   also   see  note  57  Tr.): 
Antonious,  a  Koman  subject  of  Syria,    who   had  fled  from  the  oppress- 
ion  and   was   admitted  into    the  council  of  Sapor,  and  even  to  the  Royal 
table,  where,  according  to  the  custom  of  the  Persians,  the  most  important 
business  was  frequently  discussed.     Tr.]     [7]  Fihrist,    61.     [8]  Sabusti. 
Berlin,   fol.   21a.     (9)   Masudi,    VIII,  102.  Ma'mun  once  enjoyed  himself 
with  his  companions   by  suggesting  that  each  should  cook  a  special  dish 
(Sabusti,  Berlin,  80  a)f  [10]  Fihrist,  61. 


144  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

in  those  troubled  times.  But  the  complaint  was  forthwith 
softened  by  the  comforting  assertion  that  he  had  not  self- 
ishly sought  the  throne,  and  the  optimistic  belief  that 
God  would  help  him  in  tho  fulfilment  of  his  duty.  This 
led  on  to  talk  about  the  constant  fear  he  was  in  of  his 
predecessor.  He  did  not  behave,  said  the  Caliph,  like 
an  uncle  towards  his  nephew.  Suli  consoled  him  by  re- 
ference to  the  example  of  the  Prophet,  who  too  had  to 
suffer  much  at  the  hands  of  his  uncle,  Abu  Lahab,  regard- 
ing whom  the  Almighty  actually  revealed  a  mrali  in  the 
Quran.  "On  that  night  we  sat  for  three  hours  drinking 
wine.  Radhi  having  given  up  wine,  did  not,  however, 
join  usV  The  table-companions  sitting  on  the  opening 
night,  to  the  right  and  the  left,  formed  two  shifts  for  alter- 
nate evenings3 

Suli  particularly  praises  Ar-Eadhi  for  constantly  in- 
viting later  several  companions  at  a  time  to  his  drinking- 
partios,  whereas  the  earlier  Caliphs  had  drinks  provided 
only  for  two  at  a  time,  one  for  himself  and  one  for  a 
companion*.  Large  drinking-bowls  full  of  wine  and  cups 
with  water  were  placed  before  the  guests  to  enable  them 
to  take  as  much  as  they  pleased  ;  whereas  in  earlier  times 
cup-bearers  handed  round  the  cup.  Even  Suli  tells  us 
of  drinking-competitions  at  which  the  winner  showed  his 
empty  bumper  to  the  Caliph.  This  practice  however 
became  in  the  end  too  nauseating  for  him  and  he  likened 
them  to  the  urine-flasks  shown  to  the  physician''. 

Particular  rulers  are  said  to  have  had  special  signs 
of  their  own  for  indicating  the  dissolution  of  these  convivial 
gatherings.  Yazdajerd  said  :  "The  night  is  advancing.'7 
Shapur  :  "  'Tis  enough,  0  men."  'Omar  :  "  'Tis  time  to 
pray,"  'Abdul  Malik  :  "  If  you  please.  "  Eashid : 
"Subhan  Allah  "  ;  and  Wathiq  passed  his  hand  over  his 
temples'7. 

The  court-establishment  consumed  large  sums.  For 
the  kitchen  and  bakery  10,000  dinars  (100,000  marks) 
were  alloted  per  month.  Merely  for  inusk  a  monthly 
sum  of  300  dinars  was  paid  into  the  kitchen,  though  the 
Caliph  did  not  care  much  for  it  in  his  food,  and  at  the  most 
had  but  a  little  in  his  biscuits*.  In  addition  to  these  sums, 
the  following  payments  are  shown  per  month  :  120  dinars 


(1)  As-Suli,  Auraq,  Paris,  4836,  II  ff.  (2)  Ibid,.  143  ff.  (3)  For 
instance  Al- Wathiq  (227-233/841-847  J  had  a  day  in  the  week  for  each 
companion.  (4)  As-Suli.  Auraq,  Paris,  4836,71.  (5)  Muh.  al-Udaba, 
1,121.  (6)  Wus,  351. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  145 

for  water-carriers,  200  dinars  for  candles  and  oil,  30  dinars 
for  medicine,  3,000  dinars  for  incense,  baths,  liveries,  arms, 
saddles  and  carpets1. 

In  the  Harem  of  Khumarwaihi  food  was  said  to  be 
so  plentiful  that  the  cooks  sold  it  in  the  streets.  "  He 
who  had  a  guest,  went  to  the  gate  of  the  Harem,  and  found 
expensive  food  for  sale  at  a  small  price — food  such  as 
could  not  be  found  elsewhere3." 

When  the  Caliph  Qahir  wanted  seriously  to  economise 
he  sanctioned  only  one  dinar  for  fruit  for  his  table, — form- 
erly the  amount  spent  was  30  dinars  a  day.  As  for 
courses  at  meals  they  were  limited  to  twelve,  and  instead 
of  30  sweet-dishes  the  Caliph  ordered  only  so  much  as 
was  eaough  for  him*.  The  evil  day  had  already  come. 
In  325/937  the  number  of  chamberlains  was  reduced  'from 
500  to  60*.  In  334/945  Muizz-ud-Dawlah  took  the  control 
of  the  finances  completely  away  from  the  Caliph  and  only 
allowed  him  2,000  dirhams  for  his  daily  expenses5;  less 
than  half  the  amount  he  spent  before6.  Two  years  latter, 
instead  of  the  pension,  he  assigned  to  him  lands  chiefly 
at  Basrah,  which,  along  with  his  private  means,  made 
up  a  total  of  about  200,000  dinars  a  year.  In  course  of 
time,  however,  the  Caliph's  income  dwindled  to  50,000, 
about  half  a  million  marks  per  year7.  Moreover  since 
334/945,  at  the  death  or  deposition  of  a  Caliph,  the  practice 
of  plundering  the  palace  until  nothing  was  left  came  into 
vogue8.  In  381/991,  on  the  deposition  of  Tai,  the  populace 
for  the  first  time  plundered  the  palace  in  the  fullest  sense 
of  the  term  and  took  away  marble,  lead,  teak-wood  and 
lattices9.  On  the  death  of  a  Pope  the  Eoman  people 
proceeded  likewise.  We  notice  at  this  time,  a  remarkable 
similarity  between  the  Pope  and  the  Caliph  inasmuch  as 
the  Caliqh  now  assumes  more  and  more  the  role  of  a  Pope, 
— namely,  the  premiership  of  the  entire  Muslim  church. 
The  disappearance  of  the  last  traces  of  the  Babylonian 
Church-state  uncommonly  foitified  his  spiritual  character. 

When  in  423/1032  the  Sultan  with  three  courtiers 
rowed  in  a  boat  in  the  garden  of  the  Caliph's  palace  and 

(1)  Wuz.,  16-18.  [2]  Maqrizi,  Khitat.  1,316.  [3]  Arib,  183.  [4]  Misk 
V,  541.  [5]  Misk,  V,  125;Ibn  al-Jauzi,  78  b.  [6]  Both  in  280/893 
and  330/941  the  court -expenses  were  reckoned  at  5,000  dirhams  per 
day.  [7]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  78  b.  [8]  Yahya  86  a ;  Misk  V,  124.  Already  at 
the  death  of  Eadhi  the  Sultan  took  away  the  carpets  and  utensils  that 
pleased  him  [Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  276.  At  the  deposition  of  the 
Wazirs  in  299/911  and  318/930  their  houses  were  plundered  (Wuz,  29  ; 
Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  40  a].  [9]  Ibn  al  Jauzl,  fol.  130  b;  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  56, 


146  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

amused  himself  under  a  tree  with  music  and  wine,  the 
Caliph  on  hearing  of  it  sent  two  Qadhis  and  two  chamber- 
lains to  urge  upon  him  the  impropriety  of  such  conduct 
at  that  place,  whereupon  the  Sultan  apologised^. 

Even  in  these  later  times  the  role  of  the  Caliph  is  very 
simple  and  unecclesiastical  as  compared  with  that  of  the 
Byzantine  Emperor,  who  is  greeted  in  the  circus  as  a 
second  David,  and  a  second  St.  Paul,  and  revered  as  High 
Priest,  and  whose  day,  as  is  shown  by  the  Book  De- 
Ceremoniis,  was  spent  between  churches,  altars,  and  pic- 
tures of  saints. 


(1)  Ibii  al-Jauzi,  fol.  185  a/b.  (In  this  story  the  Caliph  takes  upon 
himself  the  task  of  reproving  the  Sultan  for  debauchery  in  the  Caliph's 
garden.  This  implies  that  his  garden  was  sacred,  and  that  the 
Caliph  had  the  right  to  reprove  the  Sultan  for  immorality.  Prof. 
Margoliouth.  Tr.). 


X,    THE  NOBILITY. 


The  Arabs  said  : '  Ashraf  un-nasab',  i,e.,  nobility  lies 
in  blood.  Above  everything  else  the  aristocrat  should  be 
brave  and  generous3.  Too  calculating  a  nature  was 
deemed  nnaristocratic ;  the  aristocrat  should  be  prudent, 
but  must  feign  improvidence'7.  Unlike  that  of  a  clerk 
which  is  small'',  his  head  should  be  big7.  He  should 
have  a  thick  growth  of  hair  on  the  forehead,  a  high  nose, 
a  broad-cornered  mouth6'.  He  should  have  a  broad  breast 
and  shoulders,  a  long  forearm  and  long  fingers7,  but  not  a 
round  face.  Unaristocratic  was  affectation  in  dress  or  in 
gait.  They  said  :  A  Say y id  may  make  up  his  turban  as 
he  pleases8.  Under  the  'Abbasids  mankind  was  divided 
by  a  courtier  into  four  classes  : — 

(1)  The  ruler,  whom  merit  has  placed  in  the  foremost 
rank ; 

(2)  The  Wazir,   distinguished  by  wisdom  and  discri- 
mination ; 

(3)  The  high-placed   ones,   whom  wealth  has  raised 
aloft  ; 


(2)  In  this  connection,  see  Goldziher's  Murmuwa  und  Din  in  his 
Huh.  Studien,  Tr.  (3)  Ibn  Qutaiba,  Uyun  el-Akhbar,  271,  ed.  Brock- 
elmann.  (4)  Ibid.,  270.  (5)  Qalqashandi,  Subh-el-'Asha,  43.  (6) 
The  latt:r  also  is  the  chief  characteristic  of  a  noble  horse.  (7)  The  chief 
of  the  Jews  was  so  aristocratic  that  when  he  was  standing  erect,  his 
fingers  touched  the  knee.  Those  of  the  Mehdi  of  the  African  Senusiyyah 
even  touched  the  earth  in  such  a  posture.  (Hartmann,  APE.  1,  266.) 
(8)  Kit.  anba  nuglia  el-abna  of  Zafar  al-Makki  (565/1170)  Ms.  Berlin, 
fol.  16b,  f. 


148  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

(4)  The  middle  class  (ausat)  who  were  attached  to  the 
other  three  classes  by  their  culture. 

The  rest  of  mankind  were  described  as  mere  scum,  a 
marshy  brook  and  lower  animals  who  know  of  nothing 
save  food  and  sleep7. 

Thus  the  aristocrat  made  money  and  achieved  political 
successes — two  very  common  things  then.  The  disre- 
gard of  blood,  particularly  on  the  mother's  side,  went  so 
far  that  all  the  Caliphs,  since  the  3rd/9th  and  4th/10th 
centuries,  were  sons  of  Turkish  or  Greek  slave-girls ; 
nay  at  the  beginning  of  the  3rd/9th  century  even  the  son 
of  a  black  slave-girl  nearly  succeeded  to  the  Caliphate3. 
And  yet  Islam  established  an  aristocracy  of  blood  which 
survives  even  today.  At  the  head  of  this  aristocracy 
stood  the  kinsmen  of  the  Prophet '  or  '  Banu  Hashim  ;' 
*  members  of  the  House  of  the  Prophet '  or  *  People  of  the 
House.  '  As  kinsmen  of  the  Prophet  they  drew  a  salary 
from  the  Government,  and  with  their  entire  suite  were 
exempt  from  the  Poor-tax  (Sadaqah)3.  Nay,  they  had 
their  own  Court''.  The  Naqib  (Marshal),  appointed  by 
the  Caliph,  was  their  judge.  Not  only  at  Baghdad,  but 
in  very  large  town,  such  an  one  was  appointed.  At 
Wasit,  Kufah,  Basrah  and  Ahwas  he  was  called  c  marshal 
of  the  'Alids'5.  About  351/961  Ibn  Tabataba  was  the 
marshal  of  the  Egyptian  '  Alids6.  Even  under  the  Fati- 
mids  the  marshal  of  the  l  Alids  was  a  notable  dignitary 
of  the  Court 7.  The  letter  of  appointment  of  the  Bagh- 
dadian  marshal  of  the  Talibids  (354/965)  has  come  down 
to  us.  It  is  apparent  from  it  that  even  complaints  of 
ordinary  Muslims  against  a  Talibid  were  heard  by  this 
officer8. 

Until  the  4th/10th  century  the  two  opposing  branches 
of  the  Prophet's  family — the  Abbasids  who  succeeded  to 
power  and  the  Talibids  who  suffered — were  under  one 
and  the  same  Naqib  (Marshal)9.  But  at  the  end  of  the 
century  each  had  his  own  chief,  and  that  indeed  because 
the  'Abbasids  had  declined,  while  the  other  had  risen 
in  power  and  would  no  longer  endure  tutelage.  The 

(1)  Ibn  al-Faqih,  Bibl.  Geog.  V,  1,  (2)  Ibrahim,  son  of  Al-Mahdi, 
by  a  black  slave  girl,  was  absolutely  black,  corpulent  and  coarse.  He, 
on  that  account,  was  called  the  'dragon'  (Guruli  matah  el-budur  1.  13/ 
[3]  Jahiz,  Opus,  7.  [4]  Mawardi,  ed.  Enger,  165.  [5]  Ibn  al-Jauzi, 
115  a.  [6]  Ibn  Sa'id,  ed.  Tallquist,  49.  [7]  Musabbihi,  apud  Becker, 
1.  33.  [8]  Sasail  of  Sabi,  Ba'abda,  153.  [9]  Aribt  47. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OH  ISLAM  149 

conditions   thus   calkd  into   being   were  a  fore-shadowing 
of  the  present  state  of  things. 

Both  the  'Alids  and  the  'Abbasids  were  addressed  as 
Sharif'.  It  appears  from  Arib2  that  the  'Alids  had  no 
special  distinguishing  signs  of  their  own.  The  green 
turban  appears  as  their  mark  quite  late  in  order  of  time, — 
not  indeed  till  the  8th/14th  century* 

To  the  descendants  of  the  Prophet  residing  at  Baghdad, 
but  nowhere  else,  one  dinar  a  month  was  doled  out  under 
Mu'tamid  (256-279/870-892)*,  but  under  his  successor 
it  was  cut  down  to  Jth  of  a  dinar  per  month.  4,000  such 
pensioners  are  said  to  have  been  at  Baghdad  at  that  time, 
and  this  fits  in  with  the  item  in  the  Budget,  viz.,  1,000 
dinars  per  month  under  this  head'7.  In  209/824  they  assert 
the  number  of  the  'Abbasids  to  be  33,000e.  Jahiz  writing 
about  the  same  time,  fixes  the  'A lid  strength  at  2,3007. 

The  chiefs  of  the  Hashimids  (Mashaikh)  drew  special 
pay,  which  is  shown  in  the  Budget  along  with  the  pay  of 
the  preachers  at  Baghdad  :  600  dinars  in  all8.  Even  the 
'Abbasid  princes  (Aulad  al-Khulafa)  received  a  special, 
but  not  a  very  handsome,  pension.  Al-Mu'tadid  (279- 
289/892-902)  allowed  to  the  children  of  his  grandfather- 
princes  and  princesses — a  special  increment  of  1,000 
dinars  between  them  ;  to  his  own  brothers  and  sisters 
500  dinars  a  month  between  them  ;  whereas  to  the  rest  of 
the  relatives  only  500  dinars  per  month  between  them'9. 
Basrah,  the  only  non-Shite  court  of  importance  next  to 
Baghdad,  was  the  centre  of  this  discontented  band. 
In  the  eighties  of  this  century  three  persons,  one  of  them 
being  a  descendant  of  the  Caliph  Mahdi,  another  of 
Ma'mun  and  another  of  Wathiq,  found  themselves  there™. 

The  Wathiqi  had  been  a  preacher  at  Nisibis,  but  being 
involved  in  an  intrigue,  was  dismissed  from  his  post. 
On  dismissal  he  came  to  Baghdad.  Thence  he  proceeded 
to  Khorasan  where  he  tried  in  vain  for  an  appointment  as 
post-master  or  secular  judge.  Disappointed,  he  went  over 
to  the  Turks,  gave  himself  out  as  the  crown-prince  of 
Baghdad,  succeeded  in  bringing  about  the  expulsion  of  the 
Samanids  and  the  establishment  of  his  own  rule  at 


(1)  For  the  'Alids,  At-Tanukhi  ;  Al-Faraj,  II,  43  ;  Yaqut,  Irshad 
1,  256,  for  the  Hashimids.  (2,)  p.  49.  (3)  The  green  colour  as  the 
'Alid  colour  was  fixed  for  the  first  time  by  the  Egyptian  Sultan  Sha'- 
ban-Ibn  Hussain  (d.  778/1376).  (4)  That  is  to  say  about  10  marks. 
(5)  Wuz,  20.  (6)  Tabari,  III,  969;  Kit.  al-Uyun  351.  (7)  Fusul, 
London,  fol.  207a.  (8)  Wuz,20.  (9)  Wuz,  20.  (10)  Yatimah,  IV,  37,  112. 


150  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Bukhara.  The  Caliph  in  consequence  sent  a  public  letter 
on  his  account  to  the  north7.  After  the  failure  of  his  plan 
there  he  secretly  resided  again  at  Baghdad,  but  to  escape 
the  designs  of  the  Caliph  he  once  more  went  over  to  the 
Turks.  Ho  roamed  all  over  the  East  and  was  eventually 
stranded  at  the  court  of  Mahmud  of  Ghaznr,  who  incar- 
cerated him  in  a  castle,  where  he  died.  The  Ma'muni, 
on  the  other  hand,  a  poet,  wanted  to  conquer  Baghdad  with 
the  help  of  the  Samanid  troops  and  set  himself  up  as  Caliph. 
He  died  soon,  however,  before  he  was  forty*.  With  the 
help  of  the  ever-effective  belief  in  the  Madhi,  a  son  of 
Al-Mustakfi  (deposed  334/945)  tried  in  his  fiftieth  year  to 
secure  the  empire  for  himself.  His  emissaries  preached  to 
those  who  "  supported  justice  and  resisted  injustice  " 
to  fight  the  enemies  of  the  Faith  and  to  restore  it  to  its 
original  purity.  In  those  troublous  days  they  found  a 
large  following  oven  in  the  highest  circles  of  Baghdad. 
They  assured  the  Stinnitcs  that  the  expected  Mahdi  was 
an  'Abbasid,  and  the  Shi'itos  that  he  was  an  'Alid.  Even 
the  general  Sebuktagin  went  over  to  his  side  but  when  he, 
a  Shi'ite,  heard  that  it  was  an  affair  of  the  'Abbasids 
he  forsook  the  cause  and  suppressed  the  movement.  The 
matter  ended  by  the  Caliph  cutting  off  the  nose  of  the 
pretender  and  his  brother''. 

Apart  from  their  pension  the  Hashimids  were  given 
posts  out  of  which  money  was  made  with  an  easy  con- 
science. The  office  of  the  leader  of  prayers  in  towns  was 
mostly  held  by  them5.  The  Imam  of  the  first  mosque  of 
Baghdad,  who  died  in  350/961,  was  a  Hashamid,  and  so 
also  at  this  time  was  the  Imam  of  the  Amr  mosque 
at  old  Cairo6'.  And  Hashimids  also  were  the  two  chief 
judges  appointed  in  363/974  and  394/10047. 

At  the  end  of  the  century  an  'Abbasid  prince  acted 
as  a  preacher  at  Nisibis8.  The  very  lucrative  position 
of  the  leadership  of  the  annual  pilgrim-caravan  was  always 
held  by  a  Hashimid.  For  the  first  time  since  the  rise  of 
Islam  a  Talibid  was  given  that  post  of  honour  in  204/849 


[1]  The  public  letter,   says    Prof.   Margoliouth,   was  a  refutation  of 
the  man's  claim,  as  appears  from  Hilal,  421.   Tr. 

[2]  Wuz,  421  ft ;    Yatimah,   IV,   112  ff  ;   Ibn   al-Athir,  IX,  117   f. 

[3]  Yatimah,  IV,  94  ;   Ibn  al-Athir,   IX,  71. 

[4]  Misk,  VI,  315  ff. 

[5]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  90  b. 

[6]  Supplement  to  Kindi,  eel.  Guest,  575. 

[7]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  105  b,  141  b. 

[8]  Wuz,  421. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  151 

and  that  because  Mamuu  wanted  to  use  the  Alids  against 
his  brother.  For  three  years  ho  held  that  post,  when  it 
once  more  reverted  to  the  Ilashimids,  who  retained  it 
till  336/947'.  It  then  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  'Alids. 
who  appointed  'Alids  as  their  representatives  and  deputies3. 
In  all  pious  gifts  the  kinsmen  of  the  Prophet  came  in 
first  for  their  share.  At  thg  time  of  Ahmad  ibn  Tulun, 
the  Egyptian  Ibn  ad-Dajah  gave  2,000  dinars  to  a  Tali- 
bid  ;  other  magnates  displayed  similar  munificence*. 
The  Wazir  'Ali  Ibn  'Isa,  early  in  the  4th/10th  century, 
made  an  annual  grant  of  40,003  dinars  for  the  benefit  of  the 
'Alids,  'Abbasids,  descendants  of  the  Ansar  and  Muha- 
jerun,  and  the  two  holy  towns*.  In  one  single  day  the 
mother  of  the  Caliph  Al-M'uti  gave  to  the  'Abbasids  and 
the  'Alids  over  30,000  dinars5.  In  one  of  his  letters 
Abu'l  A'ala  apologises  for  having  sent  so  little  to  an  'AHd6. 
Proverbial  was  the  'Alid  who  "takes  but  does  not  give7". 

How  small  a  pittance  was  the  monthly  dole  of  J  dinar 
may  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that  both  the  'Alids  and  the 
'Abbasids  lived  in  grovelling  poverty  ! 

We  even  come  accross  a  Hashimid  as  a  petty  spy.  In 
the  great  famine  of  334/945  Hashimids  were  sentenced 
to  death  for  eating  their  children8.  At  the  residence  of 
the  Wazir  As-Sahib  in  North  Persia  an  'Alid  presented 
himself  as  an  itinerant  story  teller9.  The  poet  Ibn  al- 
Hajj  (d.  391/1001)  speaks  of  an  ill-famed  Hashimid  female 
singer'0.  While  the  Egyptian  viceroy  Kafur  was  out  riding 
a  member  of  his  staff  violently  pushed  back  a  beggar- 
woman.  For  this  the  Governor  wanted  to  cut  the  delin- 
quent's hands  off  but  the  woman  interceded  on  his  behalf. 
This  kindly  office  greatly  amazed  Kafur  who  asked  for 
her  name,  taking  her  to  be  a  woman  of  noble  descent. 
She  professed  to  be  an  'Alid.  Kafur  was  disconcerted 
and  observed  :  "The  Devil  maketh  us  forget  these  people". 
After  that  he  sanctioned  a  great  deal  of  alms  for  Alid 
women".  The  "uncles  of  the  Prophet"  belonged  to  the 
quarrelsome  strata  of  the  metropolitan  populace'3. 

(1)  Mas"udi,  IX,  69.  (2)  Ibn  al-Jauzi  Berlin,  fol.  129b  ;  Ibn  al-Athir, 
IX,  54.  The  leadership  of  the  Egyptian  pilgrimage  continued  in  the 
hands  of  tbe  HasMmids.  Supplement  to  Kindi,  475.  (3)  Yaqut,  Irshad, 
II,  159.  (4)  Wuz,  322.  (5)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  74  a.  (6)  Rasail,  ed.  Margo 
liouth  35.  (7)  Kit.  al-faracjh.  (8)  Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  87  a.  (9)  Huh 
al-udaba,  11,295.  (10,  Taliquist,  48.  (11)  Wuz,  331.  (12)  The  imme- 
diately preceding  anecdote  deals  with  a  brawl  between  members  of  the 
two  Imperial  families. 


152  THE  ItENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

When  in  306/918  there  was  a  delay  in  the  payment  of 
their  salary,  a  Hashimid  crowd  fell  upon  the  Wazir,  while 
he  was  coming  out  of  his  office,  abused  him,  tore  off  his 
cloth  and  dragged  him  from  his  horse.  The  Caliph  order- 
ed some  of  these  offenders  to  be  whipped,  transporting  the 
entire  lot  in  chains  to  Basrah.  There,  in  that  condition, 
they  were  led  through  the  town  on  donkeys.  After  this 
was  done  they  were  lodged  in  a  house  close  to  the  prison. 
The  Governor  treated  them  well,  and  in  secret  even  gave 
money  to  them.  Moreover  after  10  days  arrived  the  order 
for  their  release7. 

With  the  growing  strength  of  the  Shi'ites  in  Baghdad 
the  Abbasids,  specially  those  residing  at  Basrah-Gate 
became  more  and  more  restive3.  The  energetic  Wazir 
Al-Muhallabi  (circa  350/961)  was  constrained  to  keep  a 
number  of  the  Abbasid  leaders  in  custody  in  the  small 
towns  of  Babylon,  whence  they  were  only  released  after 
the  Wazir's  death*,  To  end  the  eternal  dispute  between 
the  Shi'ites  and  the  Sunnites  at  Baghdad,  in  which  the 
fiery  spirits  on  either  side  incited  their  adherents  to  take 
up  arms,  the  general  sent  there  to  restore  and  maintain 
order  had  'Alid  and  'Abbasid  tied  together  in  pairs  and 
drowned  in  the  Tigris'7. 

The  time,  long-looked  for  by  the  'Alids,  had  at  last 
come.  Everywhere  their  power  waxed,  while  that  of  the 
'Abbasids  waned.  In  Khorasan  for  instance  Mukaddasi 
find  many  rich  'Alids,  but  not  a  single  resident  'Abbasid 
there5.  The  4th/10th  century  reveals  conditions  which 
obtain  there  today.  The  House  of  Muhammad  is  exclu- 
sively represented  there  by  the  'Alids.  All  promoted 
and  subserved  their  cause — the  Karmathians  and  the 
Fatimids.  In  the  Persian  mountains  they  founded  an 
cAlid  Empire.  After  the  middle  of  the  century  they  con- 
quered Mekka  and,  instead  of  Medina,  made  Mekka  the 
capital  of  the  Holy  Lands,  and  cunningly  managed  to 
turn  the  fierce  rivalry  of  Baghdad  and  Cairo  to  the  advant- 
age of  the  newly-established  centre  of  the  Shi'ite  power. 

Shi'ites  were  the  new  rulers  in  the  East  and  the  West, 
uiz.,  the  Hamadanids  and  the  Buwayyids.  The  increasing 
veneration  of  the  Prophet  even  encircled  his  descendants 
with  heightened  splendour.  When  Kafur  once  was  riding, 
the  whip  fell  oat  of  his  hand  ;  a  Sharif  picked  it  up  and 
handed  it  over  to  him.  Verily,  said  Kafur,  willingly 

[1]     Arib,   75.  (2)   Ibn    al-Athir,   IX,     110.  [3]     Wuz.,     331.     [4] 
Wuz,  464  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  147.     [5)  Muq,  323. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  153 

would  I  die  now  !  What  other  ambition  can  I  have  after 
a  son  of  the  Prophet  hands  my  whip  to  me.  Shortly 
after  this  incident  he  died'.  At  the  beginning  of  the  4th/ 
10th  century  not  only  in  the  Shi'ite  Tiberia^  could  nothing 
be  done  without  the  help  of  the  'Alid  chief  there*,  but 
even  the  very  impartial  Ikhshid,  ruler  of  Egypt,  had  con- 
stantly about  him  two  of  these  gentlemen  :  the  Hasanid 
'Abdullah  b.  Tabataba  and  the  Hussainid  Al-Ha^an  ibn 
Tahir,  "  who  never  left  his  side  but  who  were  mutually 
hostile  to  each  other.3 "  The  latter  negotiated  and  effected 
a  peace  with  Saif-ud-Dawlah  for  him*  and  in  327/939, 
by  his  diplomacy,  averted  a  Babylonian  invasion5.  The 
same  year  another  'Alid,  by  his  influence  with  the  Kar- 
mathians,  secured  a  free  and  safe  passage  for  the  pilgrims 
which  had  been  closed  for  10  years6.  In  the  Shi'ite  houses 
of  the  Buwayyids  and  the  Hamadanids  they  were  the 
approved  mediators  in  family  disputes.  Considering  how 
lucrative  this  attitude  of  intermediaries  was,  it  was  in- 
convenient for  them  when  they  were  ultimately  compelled 
by  the  Baghdad  Government  to  follow  suit7  as  against  the 
Fatimids,  and  repudiate  these  as  no  true  Scions  of  'Alid 
stock. 

In  the  year  403/1012  an  order  of  the  Baghdadian  Amir 
went  forth  to  the  officers  which  warmly  recommended 
the  claims  of  the  'Alids  to  them — a  thing  which  had  never 
happened  before8.  But  simultaneously  with  this  order 
the  black-official  dress  of  the  'Abbasids  was  prescribed 
for  the  marshal  of  their  nobility  (Naqib),  which  no  'AM 
had  worn  before.  With  this  measure  the  earlier,  stronger 
'Abbasid  cousin  declared  himself  defeated9. 

The  descendants  of  the  first  three  Caliphs  now  play  no 
distinguished  part.  When  a  body  of  Quran-readers  com- 
plained against  Al-Omari,  the  Qadhiof  Egypt,  to  the  Caliph 

(1)  Tallquist,  47.  (2)  Snouck  Hurgronje,  Mekka,  1,  56  sqq- 
(3)  Tallquist,  18.  (4)^  Tallquist,  42.  (5)  Tallquisfc,  25.  (6)  Ibn  al- 
Jauzi,  fol.  60a.  (7)  *  Follow  suit'  means  here  taking  the  definite  line 
which  the  Government  had  adopted.  Prof.  Margoliouth.  Tr. 

(8)  Diwan  of  Rida,  210  ["  This  is  based  on  an  error.  The  heading 
of  the  poem  in  the  Diwan  of  Radi  (as  his  name  should  be  spelt)  merely 
states  that  Radi  Was  made  overseer  of  the  Alawids  throughout  the 
empire  :  previously  there  had  been  local  Nuqaba.  Moreover  it  is  not 
true  that  this  was  the  first  occasion  on  which  an  'Alawid  wore  "  the 
black  robe  "  :  according  to  Radi's  Diwan(  p.  541)  he  appeared  in  such  a 
robe  at  the  Caliph's  court  in  382.  Wearing  black  meant  acknowledging 
the  Caliph's  authority,  and  in  the  order  of  382  Radi  states  emphatically 
that  only  the  *  Abbasids  have  the  right  of  succession  to  the  Prophet.  " 
I  am  indebted  to  Prof.  Margoliouth  for  this  note,  Tr.].  (9)  Ibn  al- 
Jauzi,  fol.  158b :  Ibn  al  Athir,  IX,  170. 


154  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Harun,  the  latter  enquired  whether  there  was  still  a 
descendant  of  'Omar  I  employed  in  the  Diwan.  But 
when  they  found  none,  he  sent  the  complainants  away1. 
His  successor  Bakri,  appointed  by  Amin,  came  so  poor 
to  Egypt  and  had  such  bad  luck  with  his  land  that  he 
could  not  pay  the  land-tax.  The  officer  who  dealt  with 
his  case  cried  out :  Is  the  son  oi  the  companion  of  our 
Prophet  and  his  successors  to  be  so  harassed  on  this 
account  ?  His  debt  is  my  debt, — I  shall  pay  it  year  by 
year.  In  modern  Egypt,  on  the  other  hand,  along  with 
the  descendants  of  the  Prophet  those  of  Abu  Bakr  and 
'Omar  constitute  the  Muslim  aristocracy. 

Ever  since  the  beginning  of  the  XlXth  century  the 
Bakris  or  the  Siddiqis  especially  have  been  in  possession 
of  lucrative  clerical  offices  there*'. 

An  'Othmani,  a  descendant  of  the  Caliph  'Othman, 
went  about  begging  in  all  the  streets  of  Nisibis  about  tho 
year  400/1009  to  the  great  discredit  of  his  pious  ancestor. 
Even  lie,  such  as  he  was,  was  called  Sharif'.  Such  is 
the  main  outline  of  the  ecclesiastical  aristocracy7  of  Islam. 

The  pro-Islamite  nobility  had  maintained  themselves 
most  tenaciously  in  the  stronghold  of  feudalism,  to  wit, 
in  the  forests,  mountains  and  castles  of  Fars.  There  the 
old  families  were  honoured.  There  they  inherited  Gov- 
ernment offices  from  sire  to  son  from  the  earliest  to  the 
present  time0.  Chivalrous  conduct  was  held  in  high 
esteem  among  them.  Purity  from  foul  talk,  abstinence 
from  intercourse  with  loose  women,  striving  after  the 
highest  attainable  elegance  at  home,  in  dress,  and  at  ^able7 
was  their  dominant  note.  Of  the  Omayyad  nobility  only 
the  Mahalibah,  descendants  of  Muhallab  ibn  Abi  Safra, 
knew  how  to  maintain  their  position  and  prestige.  Basrali 
was  their  seat  where  they  lived  in  lordly  mansions*.  In 
the  great  slave  insurrection  of  the  3rd/9th  century  one 
of  these  played  a  conspicuous  role  in  "the  hope  that  the 

(1)  Kindi    415.     In    388/998   died   the   savant  Al-Khattabi,  a  de- 
scendant of  /aid   ibn   Al-Khattab   brother  of   'Omar  I  (Yaqut,    Irshad, 
II,  81). 

(2)  Kindi,  416. 

(3)  Hartmann,  MSOS,  1909,  81. 

(4)  YatimaU,  IV,  293  f. 

(5)  To  theso  also  belonged  the  descendants  of  the  first    'Helpers1  of 
the  Prophet.     They   too  had  a  marshal   (Naqib)   at   Baghdad   and   were 
provided  with  gifts  from  the  pious.     Ibn   al-Jauzi,   112a  :  Kit.   al-fraght 
11,2. 

(6)  Ibn  Haukal,  207. 

(7)  Thalibi,  Kit  al-Mmatht  129b. 

(8)  Kit,al-Uyun.  IV,  6  b. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  155 

'Abbasid  rule  might  end7  ;  another,  about  the  middle  of 
the  4th/10th  century,  became  the  Wassir  of  'Adad-ud- 
Dawlah. 

Even  the  Qadhi  family  of  the  Banu  Abi'l-shawarib.  (?) 
pretended  to  be  related  to  the  Omayyads,  and  therefore 
to  the  rulers  of  Cordova  and  those  of  Multan*. 

The  free  'Abbasid  armed  nobility  (the  abna-ud-Dawlali), 
who  had  come  with  the  'Abbasids  from  Khorasan,  were 
still  in  power  in  the  3rd/9bh  century  and  were  distinguished 
by  their  splendid  horses  and  equipment.  In  the  4th/ 10th 
century  they  were  supplanted  by  slaves  or  emancipated 
knights,  by  Turks  and  Persians. 

Even  the  last  descendants  of  the  Tahirids — who  in 
the  3rd/9th  century  ranked  next  to  the  reigning  dynasty — 
maintained  at  the  close  of  the  4th/10th  century  a  miserable 
existence  at  the  Court  of  Bokhara. 

But  they  did  not  lack  imagination*'.  In  the  entire 
north,  right  up  to  the  country  of  the  Turks,  they  were 
called  by  the  Roman-Byzantine  appellation  of  'Patri- 
cians' (Batariqa)''. 

Of  the  great  families  of  his  time  Ibn  Rosteh  (end  of 
the  3rd/9th  century)  has  some  interesting  tales  to  tell. 
The  family  of  Ibn  Ashath  is  said  to  have  descended  from 
a  Persian  shoe-maker.  They  owed  their  wealth  to  a 
childless  Jew  whom  the  shoe-maker's  aunt  had  wedded. 
The  Mahallibids  sprang  from  a  Persian  weaver.  The 
House  of  Khalid  ibn  Safwan  went  back  to  a  peasant  woman 
of  Hira,  who  while  pregnant  fell  into  Arab  hands.  The 
family  of  Al-Jahm  originated  from  a  run-away  slave  who 
falsely  claimed  Qoraishite  nobility,  and  that  of  the  opulent 
and  princely  Abu  Dulaf  from  the  Christian  bankers  of 
Hira,  The  Court-marshal  Al-Rabi,  founder  of  an  in- 
fluential line  of  officials,  is  said  to  have  been  a  worthless, 
illegitimate  son  of  an  unchaste  slave-girl'7. 

(1)  Mas'udi,   1,  377. 

(2)  ft<v»  fcha  Doems  on   them   in   Kit.  al-1  Uyunt   IV,   70a  ;   Jahiz, 
Opuscula,  15   See  Prof.  M,   Arab  Historians,  p.   139. 

(3)  Yatimah,  IV,  7  ff,  11. 

(4)  They  are  so  addressed  by  a  poet  of  Turkistan,    Yatimah,  IV,  81, 
(6)  Ibn  Bosteh,  207  f. 


XI.  THE  SLAVES. 

ALL  owned  slaves  :  Muslims,  Christians,  and  Jews.  Only 
the  Christian  Church,  now  and  then,  felt  conscience  stricken 
and  pointed  out  that  "in  Christ  there  is  neither  slave  nor 
free"7.  It  strove,  at  least,  to  ban  slave-trade  among  its 
congregation2.  It  was  particularly  astonishing  to  Mus- 
lims that  slave-girls  in  Christian  and  Jewish  homes  were 
not  sexually  at  the  disposal  of  their  masters3.  The  Law 
of  Oriental  Christianity  regarded  sexual  relations  of  the 
master  with  his  slave-girls  as  pure  fornication,  punishable 
with  excommunication  from  the  church7'.  Where  such  a 
thing  happened  the  lady  of  the  house  was  to  remove  the 
delinquent  by  sale.  Were  the  slave-girl  to  bear  a  child 
to  her  Christian  master,  the  child  was  to  be  brought  up 
as  a  slave  to  the  entire  disgrace  of  the  fornicating  parent. 
The  caliph  Mansur  once  sent  three  beautiful  Greek  slave- 
girls  and  3,000  gold  pieces  to  the  physician  Georges.  The 
physician  accepted  the  money,  but  sent  the  girls  back  with 
a  message  that  "with  such  I  shall  not  live  in  the  house, 
for  to  us,  Christians,  only  one  wife  is  allowed,  and  I  have 
one  in  Belafet,"  For  this  the  Caliph  praised  and  admired 
him5. 


[1]  ^  For  instance  Syr.  Rechtsb.  2,  161.  The  Ethiopian  thinker, 
Zar'a  Ya'qnb  (Circa  1600  A.  D  ),  in  his  criticism  of  Islam  and  Christian- 
ity, reproaches  the  former  for  destroying  the  equality  and  brother- 
hood of  man  by  sanctioning  the  slave-trade  since  all  mankind 
address  God  as  "father"  (Philosophi  abessini  ed.  Littman,  p.  11  of 
the  translation.)  [2]  Syr.  Rechtsb,  2  165.  In  Islam,  too,  there  is  a 
tradition  of  the  Prophet  :  'The  worst  of  humanity  is  he  who  sell  men.5 
AI-Qummi,  Kit.  al-'Ilal  Berlin,  fol.  206  (b).  [3]  Le  Lime  de  la  creation, 
ed.  Huart,  IV,  38  and  46  of  the  translation.  [4]  Sachau,  Rechtsb,  2 
161.  [5]  Elias  Nisibensis  (about  400  of  the  Hegira)  in  the  Corpus 
Scriptorum  Orientalism  Christianorum, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  157 

On  the  other  hand  a  child,  born  of  a  Muslim  from  his 
slave-girl,  became  immediately  free'.  The  mother,  too, 
could  neither  be  alienated  nor  sold  and,  indeed,  after  the 
death  of  the  master,  became  free.  It  is  curious  to  note 
that  even  several  masters  could,  at  one  and  the  same  time, 
possess  and  co-habit  with  a  slave  girl2. 

While  in  the  Byzantine  Empire  it  was  forbidden  to 
people  of  other  faiths  to  hold  Christian  slaves5  (even  the 
Christian  Church  in  the  Islamic  Empire  forbade  Christians 
to  sell  Christian  slaves  to  non-Christians  on  pain  of  ex- 
communication7') the  Muslim  Law  permitted  Christians 
and  Jews  to  own  Muslim  slaves5. 

In  the  4th/10th  century,  Egypt,  South  Arabia,  and 
North  Africa,  were  the  chief  markets  for  black  slaves. 
Their  Caravans  brought  gold  and  slaves  from  the  south. 
About  the  middle  of  the  2nd/8th  century  c^00  dirhams 
was  the  average  price  of  a  slave6.  The  Abyssinian  Kafur, 
latei  ruler  of  Egypt,  is  said  to  have  been  purchased  for  18 
dinars  in  312/924,  a  very  small  price  considering  he  was  a 
eunuch7.  In  'Oman  they  paid  between  250-300  marks 
for  a  good  negro  slave5.  About  300/912  a  sweetly 
pretty  girl"  fetched  150  dinars  (1,500  marks)9.  When 
the  Wazir  As-Sahib  (Ibn  Abb;id)  purchased  a  Nubian 
male  slave,  for  400  dinars™,  the  price  was  considered  a 
trifle  excessive  ;  for  even  a  pretty  dark-coloured  Nubian 
girl,  the  most  highly  prized  as  concubines,  could  bo  had 
for  300  dinars". 

The  relative  sterility  of  the  Negro-women  in  the 
Northern  countries  accounts  for  the  Muslim  world  not 
being  flooded  with  imported  negroes  and  their  bastards72. 

Like  the  negro-servant  today  the  black  house-slave 
was  chiefly  employed  as  door-keeper'5.  In  a  society 
which,  above  everything  else,  valued  good  poetry  and  fine 
music,  artistically  talented  and  trained  boys  and  girls 

(1)  At  least  the  first  child.  On  the  position  of  subsequent  children 
the  schools  differed.  The  Hanafite  view  in  d'Ohssen,  VI,  11-12.  The 
Shafiite  view  in  Sachau,  Muh.  Eecht,  174.  (2)  al-Kindi,  338.  (3)  Cod. 
Just.  C.  I.  Tit.  9  and  10.  (4)  Sachau,  Becktsbucher,  2,  109,  147. 
(5)  Sachau,  Huh  Recht,  173.  (6)  Aghani,  III.  55.  (7)  About  180 
marks,  Wustenfeld  Dis  StaUha7ter  von  Agypten,  IV,  47.  (8)  Aj'aib 
el-Hind,  52.  For  &iu  OTruhiaiy  tk,ve  in  the  Byzantine  Empire  they  then 
paid  240  marks.  Vogt,  Basile  1,  383,  (9)  Guruli  Matali  elbudur,  1, 
196.  (10)  Ibn  al-Wardi,  46.  (11)  Idrsi,  Ed.  Dozy,  13.  (12)  Jahiz, 
Opusc,  78.  (13)  Report  of  a  Chinese  in  the  XHIth  century  A.D. 
in  Fr.  Hirth  ;  Die  Lander  des  Islam  nach  Chinesischen  Quellen,  55, 


158  THE  HENKISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

would  inevitably  bo  in  great  demand.  A  famous  musician, 
at  the  time  of  Al-ltashid,  bad  often  as  many  as  eighty  slave 
girls  in  training7.  And  for  such  girls  so  trained  the  price 
was  from  10  to  20,000  marks*.  Some  of  the  poorer  artists 
gave  lessons  at  the  houses  of  great  slave-dealers5.  Of  the 
professional  female  singers  in  the  Capital  in  306/918  there 
were  very  few  who  were  not  slaves''.  As  with  us,  famous 
singers  and  female  artists  had  their  fancy  prices.  About 
300/912  a  female  singer  was  sold  in  an  aristocratic  circle 
for  13,600  dinars  (130,000  marks),  the  broker  making 
1,000  dinars5.  In  326/937  Ibn  Raiq— ruler  of  Mesopota- 
mia— paid  1,400  dinars  for  a  female  singer,  a  sum  regarded 
as  extravagant  by  the  people0. 

As  regards  prices,  the  white  slaves — aristocracy  of  the 
slaves — stood  on  quite  a  different  footing.  A  good- 
looking,  but  untrained,  white  slave-girl  fetched  1,000 
dinars  or  more7.  To  Khwarezini,  10,000  dinars  were 
offered  for  a  slave- girl".  When  in  4th/10th  Century, 
by  reason  of  reverses  on  the  western  frontier,  the  one 
source  of  supply — Byzantium  and  Armenia — was  closed, 
the  price  of  the  white  slaves  went  up0.  For  the  citizens 
and  the  clients  of  the  Empire  could  not  bo  made  slaves 
according  to  Law  ;  particularly  not,  as  in  other  countries, 
for  commission  of  crimes.  Even  Muslim  parents  could 
not  sell  their  children  ;  as  the  Jewish  father  might  sell  his 
daughters  who  were  under  age'0.  Even  when  in  the 
3rd/9th  century  the  Egyptian  Christians  were  taken 
prisoners  in  an  open  rebellion  and  were  sold  as  slaves  at 
Damascus,  the  procedure  was  regarded  as  unlawful  and 
provoked  fierce  resentment. 

On  the  other  hand,  for  those  sects  which  claimed  Islam 
as  their  monopoly,  other  Muslims  stood  outside  the  pale 
of  Law.  In  the  century  of  the  Karmathians,  this  became 
a  matter  of  great  importance,  for  the  theory  permitted 
them  to  make  their  captives  slaves.  And  thus  many 
peaceful  citizens  in  Arabia,  Syria  and  Babylon,  suddenly 
found  themselves  robbed  of  their  freedom.  In  an  attack 

[1]  Aghani,  V,  6.  [2]  Michael  Syrriis,  ed.  Chabot,  514  where 
Mahdi  is  confounded  with  Ibrahim  al-Mausili.  [3]  Aghani,  XXII,  43. 
[4]  Aba'l-Qasim,  ed.  Mez.  [5]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  88a.  [6]  Al-Suli, 
Aitraq,  142.?  [7]  Istakhri,  45.  [8]  Yatimah,  IV,  161.  [9]  Muk,  242 
[See  Roberts'  Social  Laivs  of  the  Quran  pp.  55-56.  For  fuller  notes 
on  the  subject  see  at  the  end  of  the  Chapter,  Tr.]  [10]  Krausz, 
Talmud.  Arch,  II,  84  ;  Le  Lime  de  la  creation,  ed.  Huart,  p.  38  of 
the  translation.  The  sale  of  a  Muslim  Circassian  girl  is  forbidden  by 
the  Canon  Law  to  this  day. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  150 

on  the  pilgrim-caravan  of  the  year  312/924  about  2,000 
men  and  500  women  were  marched  off  as  slaves  to  the 
Karmathian  capital.  Among  the  victims  was  the  philo- 
loger  Al-Azhari  (d.  370/980)  who  was  assigned  as  booty 
to  certain  Beduin  adventurers.  For  two  years  he  roamed 
about  as  a  slave  with  them  in  the  desert.  This  captivity 
enabled  him  to  gather  together  rich  material  for  his 
'Dictionary'  J '. 

In  the  rest  of  the  empire  the  supply  of  white  slaves  was 
confined  to  Turks  and  members  of  that  inexhaustible 
race  which  has  given  the  caste  its  European  name,  "tho 
slav(e)s."  The  latter  was  rated  higher  than  the  former 
as  merchandise.  Says  Khwarezmr  :  Wo  take  to  Turks 
when  no  other  slaves  are  available.  The  chief  article  of 
export  from  Bulgar — capital  of  the  Volga  Bulgarians — 
was  slaves  who  were  thence  taken  to  the  Oxas;j.  Samar- 
qand  was  tho  greatest  slave-market  noted  for  tho  supply 
of  the  best  white  slavos,  and  depending  like  Geneva  or 
Lausanne  of  our  time  on  its  educational  industry*.  The 
second  channel  of  import  for  slaves  of  Slavic  nationalities 
lay  through  Germany  to  Spain  and  the  Mediterranean 
harbours  of  Provence  and  Italy7.  Tho  slave-dealers  in 
Europe  were  almost  all  Jews.  The  slaves  came  almost 
exclusively  from  Eastern  Europe  as  is  the  case  today  with 
the  "white  slave  traffic*."  With  the  slave-trade  there  is 
clearly  connected  the  settlement  of  Jews  in  the  East 
Saxon  towns  of  Magdeburg  and  Merseburg  (Caro,  WirtJi- 
scliaftageschiclite  der  Judeii,  1,191.)  In  the  transport  of 
slaves  they  were  well-fleeced  at  any  rate  by  the  Germans  : 
the  Coblenz  customs-regulation  exacted  four  dinars  for 
every  slave  (Caro,  1,192)  and  the  Bishop  of  Chur  levied 
two  dinars  per  head  at  the  Wallenstadt  Customs-House 
(Schaube,  93). 

Finally  the  third  route  for  the  slave-trade  likewise  led 
from  the  western  Slave  countries,  then  at  war  with  Germany 

(1)  His  own  account  of  the  matter.  Yaqnt,  Irshad,  vi,  299. 
[2]  Yatimah,  IV,  116.  [3]  Muk,  395.  [4]  Ibn  Haukal, 
3(i8.  [5]  The  prohibition  of  the  Venetian  Doge  in  960 
to  board  slaves  on  a  steamer  referred  only  to  Christian  slaves 
(Schaube,  Handels-gcsch.  fler  row.  Volker.  23).  The  treaty  of  Venice 
with  the  Emperor  Otto  the  Great  [967  A.D],  forbids  only  Christians  of 
the  royal  territory  to  bay  or  sell  slaves  [Ibid  6].  Even  much  later  in 
Genoa  slave-dealers  were  a  striking  phenomenon  (Ibid,  104).  [6]  Bi- 
shop Agobard  of  Lyon  [9th  century  A.D.I  mentions  in  his  book  de 
insolent  id  Judaeoruvi  some  instances  of  Jews  stealing  or  oven  purchasing 
Frank ish  Christian  children  for  sale  to  Spanish  Muslims.  I  have  taken 
this  passage  from  Baudissin's  Euloiyus  und  Alvar  Leipzig,  1872,  p.  77. 


160  VHE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

and  consequently  productive  of  human  merchandise,  to 
the  East  over  Prague,  Poland  and  Russia — a  route 
followed  by  Rabbi  Petachja  in  the  6fch/12th  century.  In 
the  4th/14th  century  Prague  was  the  starting-point,  being 
a  centre  of  the  then  slave-trade.  Saint  Adalbert  gave  up 
his  bishopric  in  989  A.  D.  because  he  could  not  redeem 
all  the  Christians  whom  a  Jewish  dealer  had  purchased7. 

In  the  towns  they  had  a  slave-market  (Suq  erraqiq)  in 
charge  of  a  special  officer.  We  possess  detailed  informa- 
tion about  a  slave-market  built  at  Samarra  in  the  3rd/9th 
century.  It  consisted  of  a  quadrangle  intersected  with 
alleys,  The  houses  contained  lower  and  upper  rooms  and 
stalls  for  slaves2.  It  was  a  degrading  punishment  for  a 
slave  of  the  better  class  to  be  sold  in  the  market  instead 
of  at  a  private  house  or  through  a  prominent  dealer*. 
The  reputation  enjoyed  by  slave-dealers  was  not  unlike 
that  of  the  horse-dealers  of  today.  An  Egyptian  Governor 
was  denounced  from  the  pulpit  as  "  a  mendacious  slave- 
dealer.*"  "  How  many  brown  girls,  of  impure  colouring 
have  been  sold  as  gold  blonde !  How  many  decrepit 
ones  as  sound !  How  many  stodgy  ones  as  slim  and 
slender!  They  paint  blue  eyes  black,  yellow  cheeks  red, 
make  emaciated  faces  chubby,  remove  the  hair  from  the 
cheek,  make  light  hair  deep  black,  convert  the  straight  into 
curly,  thin  into  well-rounded  arms,  efface  small-pox  marks, 
warts,  moles  and  pimples.  One  should  not  buy  slaves  in 
markets  held  on  festival  or  similar  days.  How  often  then 
has  a  boy  been  mistakenly  purchased  for  a  girl  !  We  have 
heard  a  slave-dealer  say :  "  A  quarter  of  a  dirham  of 
Henna  increases  the  value  of  a  girl  by  100  dirhams."  They 
made  the  hair  appear  longer  by  tying  on  to  the  ends 
similarly  coloured  hair.  Bad  odour  from  the  nose  was 
remedied  by  scents  and  teeth  were  whitened  by  potash  and 
pugar  or  charcoal  and  powdered  salt. 

The  dealers  advised  the  girls  to  make  themselves 
pleasant  to  the  old  and  bashful,  but  to  be  reserved  and 
distant  with  the  young  to  inflame  their  passion  and  to 
capture  their  hearts.  They  coloured  the  finger  tips  of  a 
white-girls  red  ;  of  a  black  one  red  and  yellow-gold  ;  thus 
imitating  nature  which  works  with  flowers  through 
opposites." 

These  statements  come  from  an  Introduction  by  the 
well-known  Christian  physician  Ibn  Botlan  (first  half  of 

(1)     Caro,  1.  191  ff,     (2)     Yaqubi,  Geography,  259. 
(3)     Misk,  VI,  391.     [4]    Kindi.  110. 


THE  ftENAl&SANCfi  Of  ISLAM  161 

the  5th/1 1th  century)  to  the  art  of  making  good  purchases 
of  slaves.  This  little  book  combines  with  theory  a  good 
deal  of  ancient  practical  experiences  in  the  traffic  of  slaves. 

"  Indian  women  are  meek  and  mild  but  they  rapidly 
fade  away.  They  are  excellent  breeders  of  children. 
They  have  one  advantage  over  other  women  :  It  is  said  : 
'  On  divorce  they  become  virgins  again,'  The  men  are 
good  house-managers  and  experts  in  fine  handicrafts,  but 
they  are  apt  to  die  from  apoplexy  at  an  early  age.  They 
are  mostly  brought  from  Qandahar.  The  women  of  Sind 
are  noted  for  slim  waist  and  long  hair.  The  Medinite 
woman  combines  suavity  and  grace  with  coquetry  and 
humour.  She  is  neither  jealous  nor  bad-tempered  nor 
quarrelsome.  She  makes  an  excellent  songstress.  The 
Mekkan  women  is  delicate,  has  small  ankles  and  wrists 
and  languishing  eyes.  The  Taifite,  gold-brown  and  slim, 
is  full  of  fun  and  levity  but  is  lacking  in  fecundity  and  is 
liable  to  die  at  child-birth.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Berber 
woman  is  unrivalled  for  breeding.  Pliant  to  a  degree,  she 
accommodates  herself  to  every  kind  of  work." 

"According  to  the  broker,  Abu  '  Othman,  the  ideal 
slave  is  a  Berber  girl  who  is  exported  out  of  her  country  at 
the  age  of  nine,  who  spends  three  years  at  Medinah  and 
three  at  Mekka  and  at  sixteen  comes  to  Mesopotamia  to  be 
trained  in  elegant  accomplishments.  And,  thus,  when 
sold  at  twenty-five,  she  unites,  with  her  fine  racial  excel- 
lences, the  coquetry  of  the  Medinite,  the  delicacy  of  the 
Mekkan,  and  the  culture  of  the  Mesopotarnian  woman. 

"  At  the  markets  negresses  were  much  in  evidence  ; 
the  darker  the  uglier  and  the  more  pointed  their  teeth. 
They  are  not  up  to  much.  They  are  fickle  and  careless. 
Dancing  and  beating  time  are  engrained  in  their  nature. 
They  say  :  were  the  negro  to  fall  from  heaven  to  the  earth 
he  would  beat  time  in  falling2.  They  have  the  whitest 
teeth  and  this  because  they  have  much  saliva.  Un- 
pleasant is  the  smell  emitted  from  their  armpits  and 
coarse  is  their  skin. 

<(  The  Abyssinian  woman,  on  the  other  hand,  is  weak 
and  flabby  and  frequently  suffers  from  consumption. 
She  is  ill-suited  for  song  and  dance  and  languishes  in  a 
foreign  country.  She  is  reliable  and  has  a  strong  character 

(1)  Berlin,  4979,  fol.  135  b,  ff. 

(2)  The   negro   must   always   dance.     Like   the    German  when  he 
has  shaken  off  the  work-day  mood   he  feels   an  tmconqtierahle  passion 
to  sing.     The  negro,   simi'arly,  on  every  occasion  takes  to  his  Ngoma 
K.  Weulie,  Negerleben  in  Ostafrica,  84. 


162  TEE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

in  a  feeble  body.  The  women  of  Bujjah  (between  Abys- 
sinia and  Nubia)  have  golden  complexion,  comely  counten- 
ance, delicate  skin,  but  an  unlovely  figure.  They  must  be 
taken  out  of  their  country  before  circumcision,  for  often 
it  is  done  so  clumsily  that  the  bones  become  visible.  The 
men  are  brave  but  are  prone  to  steal  and  so,  they  should 
not  be  trusted  with  money.  And  for  this  reason,  precisely, 
they  make  bad  house-managers.  Of  all  the  blacks,  the 
Nubian  woman  is  the  most  adaptable  and  cheerful.  Egypt 
agrees  with  her,  for  as  at  home  she  drinks  the  Nile  water 
there  too.  Elsewhere  she  is  liable  to  the  diseases  of  the 
blood. 

"  Fair  skinned,  the  Turkish  women  are  full  of  grace 
and  animation.  Theii  eyes  are  small  but  enticing'. 
They  are  thick-sot  and  are  inclined  to  be  of  short  stature. 
There  are  ve7*y  few  tall  women  among  them.  They  are 
prolific  in  breeding  and  their  offspring  are  but  rarely  ugly. 
They  are  never  bad  riders.  They  are  generous;  they  are  clean 
in  their  habits ;  they  cook  well  ;  but  they  are  unreliable. 

"  The  Greek  woman  is  of  red-wite  complexion,  has 
smooth  hair  and  blue  eyes.  She  is  obedient,  and  adapt- 
able, well-meaning,,  faithful  and  trustworthy.  The  men 
are  useful  as  house-managers,  because  of  their  love  of 
order  and  disinclination  to  extravagance.  Not  infrequent- 
ly they  are  \vell-trained  in  some  fine  handicraft. 

u  The  Armenian  is  the  worst  of  the  white,  as  the  negro 
is  of  the  black.  They  are  well-built,  but  have  ugly  feet. 
Chastity  is  unknown  and  theft  is  rampant  among  them. 
But  they  know  not  avarice.  Coarse  is  their  nature  and 
coarse  their  speech.  Let  an  Armenian  slave  be  an  hour 
without  work  and  he  will  get  into  mischief.  He  only 
works  under  the  threat  of  the  cane  or  the  stress  of  fear. 
When  you  find  him  lazy — it  is  simply  because  he  delights 
in  laziness  and  not  because  he  does  not  feel  equal  to  work. 
You  must  then  take  to  the  cane,  chastise  him  and  make 
him  do  what  you  want." 

Even  in  the  earlier  centuries  the  practice  had  grown 
up  of  calling  male  and  female  slaves  not  "  Slaves "  but 
boys  and  girls.  As  always  this  too  was  alleged  to  be  a 
command  of  the  Prophet.  Piety,  and  chivalry,  moreover 
forbade  corporal  chastisement  of  slaves.  "  The  worst 

(1)     A  poet  of  tho  4th/10th  century  praises   the   Mongolian   eyes  of 
the  Turkish   boys  in  these  words  "  too  small  for  the  eye-stick  '  (Yaqut, 

v,i  82;. 


THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  163 

man  is  he  who  takes  his  meal  alone,  rides  without  a  saddle- 
cloth or  beats  his  slaves"  is  a  noble  sentiment  handed 
down  by  Abu'l  Laith  as-Samarqandi  (d.  387/997)  as  a 
saying  of  the  Prophet7.  In  the  4th/10th  century  even 
the  language  of  the  Quran  u  the  faithful  are  brothers"  is  put 
forward  in  condemnation  of  one  who  beats  his  slaves. 
"Be  a  friend  to  thy  slave  and  let- a  slave  be  a  friend  to 
thee  "  is  put  into  rhyme12. 

In  the  description  of  an  ideal  Yamanite  chief,  about 
500/1,106,  it  is  expressly  stated  that  he  never  beat  a 
slave'.  Even  under  the  first  Omayyads  an  Egyptian 
Qadhi  grants  freedom  to  a  slave-girl  who  has  been  hurt 
by  her  mistress.  She  is  made  over  to  a  pious  family 
which  assumes  responsibility  for  her  and  her  educa- 
tion/;. 

The  Christian  Church  of  the  East  threatened  with 
excommunication  those  who,  directly  or  by  refusal  to 
maintain,  forced  their  slave-girls  into  prostitution'7.  The 
Muslim  brothel  was  mostly  worked  with  slave-girls,  as 
many  stories  show.  The  Law,  indeed,  ignores  it  as  it 
professes  to  give  no  quarter  to  prostitution.  As  against 
this  attitude  of  the  Muslim  Law  the  Church  has  preserved 
a  trace  of  the  spirit  of  ancient  frankness. 

The  recommendation  of  Quran  is  to  marry  orphans, 
"pious  servants  and  handmaidens^. "  Very  beneficent, 
indeed,  was  the  principle  which  enabled  the  slave  to  buy 
his  freedom  and,  this  particularly  so,  as  both  male  and 
female  slaves  could  engage  independently  in  work.  Mas- 
'  udi  tells  of  a  slave  who  was  a  tailor  that  he  paid  two 
dirhams  daily  to  his  master,  keeping  the  rest  of  his  earnings 
for  himself7.  Moreover  it  was  regarded  as  a  good  and 
pious  deed  to  grant,  by  will  and  testament,  freedom  to  a 
certain  number  of  one's  slaves.  Thus  in  the  3rd/9th 
century  the  Caliph  al-Mu'tasim  directed  the  emancipation 
of  8,000  slaves  on  his  death8.  This  same  Caliph  ordered, 
at  the  bloody  storming  of  an  Armenian  fortress,  that  the 
families  taken  into  slavery  should  not  be  separated  or 
torn  asunder9. 

The  favourite  slave-girl  of  a  well-to-do  merchant  could 
proceed  very  far :  she  could  show  herself  surrounded  by 
female  attendants  fanning  her10. 

(i)      Bustanal-'arifin   [Tanbih  al-ghafilina].    Cairo   (1304).  p.    222. 

(2)  Abu  Hayyan  at  Tauhidi,   Bis.  fi's-saddaqa  (Const.   1301)  p.  169 

(3)  'Umara     al-yamani,     ed.Dorenbourg,     9,    (4)     Al-kindi,  317.     (5) 
Sachau,   Mitteilungen  des  Orient.  Seminars,  X,  2,  p.   93.     (6)     Quran, 
24,  32.     (7)  Mas'udi,  IV,  344.  (8)  Mich.    Syrus,  543.  (9)  Mich.    Syrus 

537.      (10)  M^lghrib  of  Ibn  Sa,id,  Tallquist    15. 


164  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

On  the  night  of  the  15th  of  Eamadhan,  the  well-known 
preacher  Ibn  Samun  spoke  of  sweets,  A  slave-girl  of  a 
rich  merchant  happened  to  be  among  the  audience.  The 
next  evening  a  slave  brought  500  biscuits  to  him,  each 
containing  a  gold-piece.  The  preacher  brought  the  gold 
pieces  back  to  the  merchant  who  told  him  that  they  had 
been  sent  with  his  consent'.  Even  the  male  slave  could 
capture  the  master's  heart.  Such  is  the  delight  which  the 
Oriental  takes  in  one  who  combines  beauty  with  intellig- 
ence. Thus  does  the  poet  Sa'id  al-Khalidi  praise  one 
of  his  slaves2  : — 

"  Not  a  slave  but  a  son  is  he  with  whom  God  has 
blessed  me, 

"  On  his  cheeks  arc  roses,  anemones,  apples  and 
pomegranates, 

"  All  arranged  in  rows  as  in  a  garden  brimming  with 
beauty  and  bloom. 

"  Cheery,  witty,  unique,  a  fine  sparkling  gem— above 
all  else, 

"  The  holder  and  trustee  of  my  purse. 
Never  do  I  miss  anything 

"  He  spends  but,  to  my  extravagance,  he  objects 

Ci  But,  in  spending,  he  never  forgets  the  rule  of  the 
golden  mean. 

"  Conversant,  like  myself,  with  ars  poetica — he 

"  Strives  ever  and  anon  to  improve  himself  therein. 

"  Connoisseur  of  poetry,  he  accurately  assesses  the 
worth  of  fine  diction. 

"  He  looks  after  my  books,  and  under  his  care 
"  They  all  keep  fine. 

"  He  folds  my  clothes  and  keeps  them  like  new. 
"  Among  mankind  he  is  the  best  of  cooks 

*  *  *  # 

c*  When  alone  with  him  he  lets  the  wine  freely  flow 

*  *  *  # 

"  When  I  laugh,  happy  he  is  ;  when  I  rage,  he  is  in 
fear  and  trembling. 

"  In  literary  circles  this  excellent  slave  became  a 
proverb'V 

The  poet  Kushagim  of  Aleppo,  (d.  330/941),  too,  makes 
a  touching  reference  to  his  slave  Bishr* :  "  Who  will 

(1)     Ibn    al-Janri,    Berlin,    fol.     142  b.    (2)    Maalim    et-Talkhis, 
Berlin,  fol.  15  b.  (8)  The    alibi,   '  Umad  al-Mansnb,  Z  D  M  G,  VI,  64 
m     learn   there  that  he  was  also  called  Ressas.  (4)    Diwan,  181  ff. 


THE  EENAI88ANGE  OF  ISLAM  166 

now,  look  after  my  inkpot,  my  books,  and  my  cups  as  he 
did  ?  Who  will  fold  and  glue  the  paper  ?  Who,  in 
cooking,  will  make  the  lean  rich  ?  Regardless  of  the 
opinions  of  others — he  always  thought  well  of  me.  Loyal 
ho  ever  remained  even  when  the  trusted  one  failed. v 
Ma'arri  does  not  omit  to  send  his  greetings  to  the  slave 
Muqbil  in  a  letter  addressed  to  his  master :  "  though  black 
of  hue,  he  is  more  to  us  than  a  Wazir  whose  love  and 
loyalty  cannot  be  relied  upon1." 

Highest  was  the  rank  of  the  armed  slave  who  "  bore 
in  his  knapsack  not  only  the  staff  of  the  inarshall "  (Munis, 
Jauharj  but  even  the  sceptre  of  the  Sovereign  (Kafur  in 
Egypt,  Subuktagin  in  Afghanistan).  Already  at  the  be- 
ginning of  the  '  Abbasid  rale  a  Turkish  slave  was  the  gover- 
nor of  Egypt  (162-164/779-781)  of  whom  Mansur  used 
to  say  : 

"  There  is  the  man  who  fears  me  and  not  God2."  Of 
pederasty  we  need  not  speak  here. 

The  ideas  were  precisely  the  same  here  as  in  the 
Frankish  empire  where  also  freedmen  attained  the  highest 
position  of  honour  and,  as  such,  received  the  homage  and 
obedience  of  free-men.  There,  too,  quondam  slaves  were 
especially  generals,  governors  and  royal  guardians'1.  But 
in  the  East  the  slave  rarely  succeeded  in  permanently 
getting  the  better  of  the  freeman  as  was  the  case  with  the 
European  slave  ;  for  the  continuance  of  the  institution  of 
slavery  stood  in  the  way  of  the  effacement  of  the  distinc- 
tion between  the  slave  and  the  freeman'' J 

On  the  whole,  opinion  was  not  very  favourable  to  the 
slave.  "  When  the  slave  is  hungry  he  sleeps  ;  when  satiat- 
ed, he  fornicates,  "  ran  a  saying  and  the  poet  Mutanabbi 
sings  :  "  Expect  nothing  good  of  a  man  over  whose  head  the 
slave-dealer's  hand  has  passed5/ 

And  so  thought  Homer  : — 

"  See,   the  ruling   Zeus   robs   half  of  the  manhood 
from  him  on  whom  dawns  the  day  of  servitude6/' 

But  despite  all  favours  of  fortune,  legal  guarantees 
and  the  happy  position  of  the  modern  Oriental  domestic 
slave  we  must  not  paint  in  too  roseate  a  colour  the  status 
of  the  Muslim  slave  in  the  Middle  Ages. 


(1)  Letters,  ed.  Margoliouth,  41.  (2)  kl-Kindi,  123.  (3)  Chr. 
Meyer,  Kulturgesch.  Studien,  91,  (4)  This  is  not  borne  out  by  the 
facts  Tr.  (5)  Diwan,  546.  (6)  Ody,  XVII,  322. 


166  THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  4th/10th  century  all  the  provinces  indeed  swarm- 
ed with  run-away  slaves  and  the  governors  were  specially 
advised7  to  arrest  them,  to  put  them  in  custody  and, 
whenever  possible  restore  them  to  their  owners. 

The  slave,  turned  out  on  the  streets,  by  the  Chief  of 
the  police  (Nazuk),  brought  tears  to  his  master's  and  a 
katib's  eye  when  he  begged  to  go  back  to  him.  The  latter 
he  made  weep  the  more  because  of  the  dinar  he  had  given 
him2. 

The  run -away  slaves  are  likely  to  have  been  mostly 
agricultural  slaves.  Even  the  army  of  the  only  dangerous 
slave  insurrection  of  the  century  (3rd/9th  century)  con- 
sisted of  the  negroes  who  cleared  out  the  salt-marshes  at 
Basrah  till  they  came  to  be  productive  soils.  The  salt- 
hills  piled  up  by  the  negroes  were  mountains  high.  Then 
thousands  of  them  were  employed  on  the  canals  of  Basrah3 

(1)  Rasa'il  of  Sabi  Baabda.  (2)  Kit.  al~Faragh,  1,  54.  (3)  Kit. 
al-Uyun,  Berlin,  IV,  fol.  7  a. 

NOTE. 
I.  THE  ACQUISITION  OF  SLAVES 

The  greatest  of  all  divisions,  [that  between  freeman  and  slave, 
appears  as  soon  as  the  barbaric  warrior  spares  the  life  of  his  enemy  when 
he  has  him  down,  and  brings  him  home  to  drudge  for  him  and  till  the 
soil."  The  two  main  causes  of  slavery  are  want  and  war,  and  of  these 
two  it  may  be  said  that  war  is  the  more  potent.  And  so  with  the  Mu- 
hammadans,  the  acquisition  of  slaves  was  chiefly  connected  with  warfare. 
Surah  47  (verse  4  f.)  runs  thus  : — 

"When  ye  encounter  the  unbelievers,  strike  off  their  heads,  until 
ye  have  made  a  great  slaughter  among  them  ;  then  bind  (the  remainder^ 
in  fetters.  (5)  And  After  this  give  (the  latter)  either  a  free  dismissal, 
or  exact  a  ransom,  until  the  war  shall  have  laid  down  its  arms/' 

The  usual  expression  for  female  slaves  in  the  Qur<an  as  we  have 
already  seen  is,  "that  which  your  right  hands  possess."^ 

It  will  be  seen  that  there  is  nothing  in  the  Qu'ran  regarding  the 
purchase  of  slaves. 

According  to  Muhammadan  law,  a  slave  is  (i)  a  person  taken  captive 
in  war,  or  carried  off  by  force  from  a  foreign  hostile  country,  and  being 
at  the  time  of  capture  an  unbeliever,  (ii)  The  child  of  a  female  slave 
whose  father  is  (a)  a  slave,  or  (b)  is  not  the  owner  of  the  mother  of  the 
child,  or  (c)  is  the  owner  of  the  mother  but,  who  does  not  acknowledge 
himself  to  be  the  father,  (iii)  A  person  acquired  by  purchase. 

War  and  slavery,  as  one  would  expect,  are  also  closely  bound 
together  in  the  old  Testament.  In  Num.  chap.  31,  the  children  of  Israel 
are  commanded  to  wage  a  war  of  vengeance  against  the  Midianites, 
And  in  verse  7  ff,  we  read  : — 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Off  ISLAM  167 

"And  they  warred  against  Midian,  as  the  Lord  commanded  Moses 

and  they  slew  every  male (9)  And  the  children  of  Israel  took 

captive  the  women  of  Midian  and  their  little  ones",  etc. 

As  far  as  strangers  were  concerned,  the  Israelites  were  allowed  to 
buy,  sell,  or  transfer  their  male  and  female  slaves.  So  we  read  in  Lev. 
25,4  IT:— 

"And  as  for  thy  bondmen,  and  thy  bondmaids,  which  thou  shalt 
have  ;  of  the  nations  that  are  round  about  you,  of  them  shall  ye  buy 
bondmen  and  bondmaids.  (45)  Moreover  of  the  children  of  the 
strangers  that  do  sojourn  among  you,  of  them  shall  ye  buy,  and  of 
their  families  that  are  with  you,  which  they  have  begotten  in  your 
land  ;  and  they  shall  be  your  possession.  (46)  And  ye  shall  mako 
thorn  an  inheritance  for  your  children  after  you,  to  hold  for  a  posses- 
sion ;  of  them  shall  ye  take  your  bondmon  for  ever." 

As  among  the  Muhammadans  slaves  consist  partly  of  children  of 
female  slaves,  and  partly  also  of  those  that  are  acquired,  so  in  the  Old 
Testament  we  have  the  two  expressions,  "ho  that  is  born  in  the  house" 
and  "he  that  is  bought  with  money."  This  shows  us  that  among  the 
Israelites  as  among  the  Muhammadans  the  number  of  slaves  might  be 
multiplied  by  birth.  This,  of  course,  is  true  of  all  peoples  who  trade 
in  slaves  ;  since  the  slaves  are  the  "possession"  of  their  masters,  thoir 
children  also  belong  to  them. 

A  further  agreement  between  the  Muhaimnadan  and  Old  Testa- 
ment laws  consists  in  the  limitation  of  slaves  to  foreigners.  In  Lev.  25, 
39  ft'.,  we  read  : — 

"And  if  thy  brother  be  waxen  poor  with  thoo,  and  sell  himself 
unto  thee  ;  thou  shalt  not  make  him  to  serve  as  a  bondservant  : 
[40]  as  an  hired  servant,  and  as  a  sojourner,  ho  shall  be  with  thee  ; 
he  shall  serve  with  thee  unto  the  year  of  jubilee,  [41J  then  shall  he 

go  out  from  thee,  he  and  his  children   with    him [42] they  shall 

not  be  sold   as  a  slave  is  sold." 

And  so  with  tho  Muhammadans,  who  are  strictly  forbidden  to  take 
believers  as  slaves.  The  Muhammadan  like  the  Israelite  is  to  regard 
his  fellow -believer  as  a  brother. 

Among  the  Babylonians,  however,  it  was  otherwise.  Slaves  were 
recruited  both  from  within  and  without.  If  a  son,  whether  natural  or 
adopted,  sinned  against  bis  parents,  his  father  could  soil  him  as  a  slave. 
And  likewise  the  husband  had  the  right  to  dispose  of  a  quarrelsome 
wife  for  money.  Also  the  captured  enemy  naturally  took  the  position  of  a 
slave  ;  especially  did  the  white  [light-complexioned]  slave  from  Gutium 
and  Shubarti  at  that  time  appear  to  be  much  desired, 

II.     THE    TREATMENT  OF  SLAVES 

We  have  already  seen  how  the  Qur'an  insists  upon  the  just  and 
humane  treatment  of  the  widow  and  orphan.  And  a  like  treatment  is 
demanded  also  for  slaves  ;  and  that  in  accordance  with  the  teaching 
that  all  men  belong  to  God,  and]  are  therefore  in  a  certain  sense  alike. 
So  we  read  in  Surah  XVI,  73  : — 

"God  hath  caused  some  to  excel  others  in  wordly  possessions  ; 
yet  those  who  thus  excel  do  not  give  of  their  wealth  unto  t^ose  whom 
their  right  hands  possess  [their  slaves],  so  that  both  may  have  an 
equal  share  thereof.  Do  they,  therefore,  deny  the  beneficence  of  ?  God  " 


168  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Also  Sura  4,  40  :— 

"Honour  God,  and  associate  none  with  him  ;  and  show  kindness 
tmto  parents,  relations,  orphans,  the  poor,  the  neighbour  who  is  of 
kin  to  you,  and  he  who  is  not,  and  to  your  trusted  friend,  and  the 
traveller,  and  to  those  whom  your  right  hands  possess  ;  for  God 
loveth  not  the  arrogant  and  the  proud." 

In  the  year  before  his  death,  the  Prophet,  during  a  farewell  pilgrim- 
age at  Mina,  delivered  an  address  to  his  followers,  in  which,  among 
several  other  injunctions,  we  find  the  following  : — 

"And  your  slaves  !  see  that  ye  feed  them  with  such  food  as  ye 
eat  yourselves,  and  clothe  them  with  the  like  clothing  as  ye  wear 
yourselves  ;  and  if  they  commit  a  fault  which  ye  are  inclind  not  to 
forgive,  sell  them;  for  they  are  the  servants  of  the  Lord,  and  are  net 
to  be  tormented." 

If  Muhammad  could  not  abolish  slavery,  he  has  certainly  done  wh.yt 
he  could  to  secure  for  slaves  humane  fe treatment.  And  if  present-day 
Muhammedans  disregard  his  injunctions,  it  is  not  fair  to  hold  the  Pro- 
phet himself  responsible  for  it.  Also,  as  already  observed,  it  must  not 
be  forgctten  that  the  legislation  of  the  Qur'an  was  enacted  for  a  seventh- 
century  people.  The  position  and  treatment  of  slaves  among  the  an 
cients  in  different  lands  naturally  differed  in  accordance  with  tho 
character  of  the  various  peoples,  as  well  as  tho  character  of  the  slaves 
themselves,  that  is  e.g.,  whether  they  be  foreign  or  home-born.  And 
there  was  also  a  difference  of  treatment  by  the  same  peoples  at  different 
times.  But  if  the  enactments  of  the  Prophet  had  only  been  faithfully 
observed  by  his  followers,  the  treatment  of  slaves  in  Muhamrnadan 
countries  would  in  all  cases  compare  very  favourably  with  what  it  was 
among  the  ancients. 

Also  tho  treatment  of  slaves,  as  enacted  in  Muhammindan  law, 
taken  all  in  all,  can  only  be  regarded  as  just.  As  we  have  already  seen 
in  the  case  of  adultery,  female  slaves  were  held  to  be  less  guilty  than 
free  women,  and  consequently  their  punishment  was  to  be  less  severe. 
And  especially  did  tho  Law  enact  that  they  should  be  sufficiently  sup- 
ported, and  not  made  to  suffer. 

On  the  other  hand,  it  must  be  remembered  that  slaves,  like  any 
other  property,  were  transferable.  A  Muhammadan  has  the  right  to 
sell  his  concubine,  at  least  as  long  as  he  has  no  child  by  her.  And  even 
if  he  ha¥J  a  child  by  her,  he  can  always  deny  the  paternity  (although 
this  does  not  often  happen).  And  in  any  case,  the  slave  would  have 
to  continue  to  serve  him,  and  be  his  concubine,  that  is  unless  he,  when 
she  has  borne  a  son  to  him,  presents  her  with  her  freedom  by  way  of 
compensation. 

III.    THE  EMANCIPATION  OF  SLAVES 

The  founder  of  Islam  not  only  insisted  upon  the  humane  treatment 
of  slaves,  but  also  that  it  should  be  made  possible  for  them  to  secure 
their  freedom,  when  they  had  shown  themselves  worthy  of  it  by  their 
conduct.  Accordingly  the  emancipation  of  slaves  among  the  Muham- 
madans  must  be  regarded  as  a  meritorious  act.  Surah  XXIV,  33  reads  : 

"And  those  of  your  slaves  who  desire  a  deed  of  manumission, 
write  it  for  them,  if  ye  have  a  good  opinion  of  them,  and  give  them  of 
the  wealth  of  God,  which  he  has  given  you." 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM          169 

The  manner  in  which  this  emancipation  is  brought  about  in  Mu- 
hammad an  countries  varies.  Sometimes  complete  and  immediate 
emancipation  is  granted  to  a  slave  gratuitously,  or  for  a  money  compen- 
sation to  be  paid  later.  This  is  done  by  means  of  a  written  document, 
or  by  a  verbal  declaration  in  the  presence  of  two  witnesses,  or  again  by 
the  master  presenting  the  slave  with  the  certificate  of  sale  obtained 
from  the  former  mastei  Also,  in  conformity  with  the  Command  in 
Surah  XXIV,  33,  future  emancipation  is  sometimes  agreed  upon  to  be 
granted  on  the  fulfilment  of  certain  conditions  ;  or  more  frequently, 
on  the  death  of  the  owner.  In  the  latter  case  the  owner  cannot  sell 
the  slave  with  whom  the  agreement  has  been  made.  Also,  as  the 
owner  cannot  alienate  by  will  more  than  one-third  of  the  whole  property 
that  ho  loaves,  the  Law  ordains  that,  if  the  value  of  the  said  slave  exceed 
that  portion,  the  slave  must  obtain,  and  pay  to  the  owner's  heirs  the 
additional  sum.  Wo  shall  see  further  on  that  for  certain  offences,  such 
as  manslaughter,  etc.,  the  freeing  of  a  captive  is  reckoned  as  part- 
punishment. 

It  is  not  impossible  that  prophet  to  some  extent  at  any  rate, 
was  acquainted  witli  the  Old  Testament  enactments  concerning  the 
emancipation  of  slaves  (cf.  Dout.  15  12  ;  Ex.  21,  5  ff  ;  Jer.  34,  15,  17  ; 
Ezek.  46  (17).  While,  however,  the  Old  Testament  deals  only  with 
the  emaTicipation  of  Israelite  slaves  who  had  become  bondmen 
through  debt  Muhammad  speaks  of  the  emancipation  of  all  slaves. 
Roberts,  Social  Laws  of  the,  Quran,  pp.  53  60. 

Also  Doughty,  Arabia  Deserta,  1,  554  ;  Lane  Modern  Egyptians, 
168  ;  Snouck  IIurgronje,Me/<;/<;a  II,  18  if. 


XII  THE  SAVANT. 

The  3rd/9th  century  developed  those  who  had  a 
knightly  and  courtly  education  into  litterateurs  (adib)  of 
the  debased  type  of  the  modern  journalists  who  will 
speak  on  every  subject.  This,  naturally,  constrained  the 
savants  to  take  to  specialization  :  "He  who  would  be  a 
savant  ('alini)  should  cultivate  a  particular  branch  of 
learning  (faun )  but  he  who  would  be  a  litterateur,  let 
him  range  over  the  entire  domain  of  learning  "'.  A  number 
of  profane  sciences  grew  out  of  the  old  belles-lettres 
(adab}.  Hitherto  only  theology  and  philosophy  possessed 
systematic  method  and  scientific  style,  but  now  philosophy 
and  history  and  even  geography  adopted  their  own 
method  and  stylo.  No  longer  content  with  merely  amass- 
ing copious  and  varied  material,  they  become  practical, 
they  begin  to  systematize  and  they  feel  a  sense  of  responsi- 
bility. How  brief,  now,  become  the  prefaces  to  books  ! 
And  a  striking  illustration  of  this  is  the  preface  to  the 
Fihrist  composed  in  377/987  :  "  God,  help  with  thy 
Grace  !  The  Soul  craves  for  facts  and  not  for  theories. 
And,  precisely  for  this  reason,  we  restrict  ourselves  to 
these  words  since  the  book  itself  will  show — if  God  wills — 
what  we  have  aimed  at  in  composing  it.  We  seek  God's 
help  and  blessings  !  " 

A  further  change  was  effected  by  the  separation  of 
Jurisprudence  from  the  Theology  with  the  result  that  the 
learned  world  was  rent  in  twain — the  world  of  jurists  and 
that  of  savants  proper  ('ulama).  The  vast  mass  of 
students,  who  worked  for  a  living,  attached  themselves  to 
jurists  ;  for  only  through  the  jurists,  vwho  represented  Law 
and  Ritual,  was  it  possible  to  secure  the  posts  of  judges 
and  preachers.  Says  Jahiz  in  a  well-known  passage  : 
Our  experience  is  that  the  study  of  traditions  or  the 


(1)     Ibn   Kutaibah,   according  to  the  Mikhlat  of  Amuli,    228. 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  171 

exegesis  of  the  Quran  up  to  fifty  years  will  not  qualify  a 
man  as  'jurist'  or  render  him  eligible  for  a  judicial  post. 
These  honours  can  only  be  attained  by  studying  the 
writings  of  Abu  Hanifa  and  such  like  and  by  committing 
to  memory  legal  formulae  for  which  a  year  or  two  are 
amply  sufficient.  One  who  does  this  is  appointed  after 
a  short  time,  judge  over  a  town,  nay,  over  an  entire,  prov- 
ince/ 

The  advance  of  theology — rendered  possible  by  jet- 
tisoning the  juristic  ballast — and  the  spirit  of  the  new 
age  raised  the  ideal  of  the  savant  to  a  remarkable  altitude. 

"Learning  only  unveils  herself  to  him  who  whole- 
heartedly gives  himself  up  to  her  :  who  approaches  her  ; 
with  an  unclouded  mind  and  clear  insight ;  who  seeks 
God's  help  and  focusses  an  undivided  attention  upon  her  ; 
who  girds  up  his  robo  and  who,  albeit  weary,  out  of  sheer 
ardour,  passes  sleepless  nights  in  pursuit  of  his  goal 
rising,  by  steady  ascent,  to  its  top  most  height  and  not 
to  him  who  seeks  learning  by  aimless  flights  and  thought- 
less efforts  or  who,  like  a  blind  camel,  gropes  about  in  the 
dark.  He  should  not  yield  to  bad  habits  or  permit  him- 
self to  be  led  astray  by  vicious  tendencies.  Nor  must  he 
turn  his  eyes  from  truth's  depth.  He  should  discriminate 
between  the  doubtful  and  certain,  between  genuine  and 
spurious  and  should  always  stand  firm  by  the  clear  light 
of  reason."  Thus  wrote  Mutahhar  in  355/966^ 

The  clerk  (kat-il)  was  the  representative  of  profane 
learning.  He  was  already  severely  distinguished  from  the 
theologian  by  his  dress  who  used  Tailasan  and,  in  the 
East  at  least,  the  Chinband'3. 

^Persia,  the  worldly  province,  was  the  head -quarters  of 
the  'clerk.'  In  its  capital,  Shiraz,  he  was  more  honoured 
than  the  theologian*.  The  East,  on  the  other  hand,  was 
the  paradise  of  the  savant  where  the  theologian  even  today 
enjoys  an  esteem  unrivalled  elsewhere  in  the  world5. 
When  in  the  5th/llth  century  a  great  theologian  travelled 
through  Persia,  the  inhabitants,  with  their  wives  and, 
children,  met  him  wherever  he  went,  touched  his  sleeve 
tojnvoke  his  blessings  and  took  the  dust  off  his  sandal  as 

(1)  Goldziher,  Muh,  Stu'lien,  II,  233.  The  young  Ghazzali  was 
very  much  distressed  when  a  theologian  addressed  him  as  'iurisfc' 
Suhki,  III  259.  (2)  m.  Hnarfc,  1,  5.  (3)  See  Khuda  Buksh, 
Contributions  to  the  History  of  Mamie  Civilisation,  vol.  II  (Second) 
Edition)  :  Educational  syntfm  of  the  Muslims  where  this  word  is  explained 
m  note.  (4)  Muk,  440.  (5)  This  passage  appears  confused  and  is, 
certainly,  inaccurate.  Tr. 


172  TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

if  it  was  medicine.  Merchants,  artisans  flung  their  wares 
upon  his  train  :  fruits,  sweets,  dresses,  iurs.  Even  cobb- 
lers were  not  behindhand.  Sufi  women  threw  garlands 
of  roses  at  him  in  the  hope  that  he  might  touch  them  and 
they  might  thence  draw  magical  power/ 

Every  mosque   of  importance  is   likely  to  have  had   a 
library  for,  hitherto,   it  was  the  practice  to   bequeath  books 
to  them2.     The  Library  at   Merv  is    said  to   have   had  as 
nucleus   the  books   brought   there    by    Yazdagerd'1.     The 
magnates  also  took  a  pride  in   collecting  books.     At   the 
end  of  the  4th/10th  century   every   one    of  the  three   great 
rulers   of  Islam — of   Cordova,   of  Cairo,   and  of  Baghdad — 
was  a  lover  of  books.     Al-Hakam   of  Spain   had  his  agents 
all  over  the  East   to  collect  first  copies   of  books  that  wore 
written.     The  catalogue    of    his   library  consisted   of  44 
Fasculi,   each   of   20  folios,  containing    merely  the  titles  of 
books.     At  Cairo  before  the  Caliph  Abdul  Azi*  (d.  386/91)0) 
mention  was  made  of   kheKit-Al-Ain  of  Khalil  ibn  Ahmad. 
He  sent   for  it  and  the  librarian   immediately  brought   over 
30  MSS,  among  them,   an   autograph   copy   of   the  author. 
A  dealer  offered   the  Caliph  a  MS  of  the  ' History  oj  Tabai  i 
for  which  he  had   paid   100  dinars.     The    Caliph,   in   his 
library  had  more   than  20  MSS.  of   this  work,  including  an 
autograph   copy     of   the   author.     Of  HieJamJiarah  of   Ibn 
Duraid  he  had  100  MSS*.     Later  writers  even  presume   to 
know  the  actual  number    of  books    there.     In  the  printed 
edition  of   Maqrizi  the   number  is   estimated   at   between 
160  and   120,000  volumes'.     Ibn   al  Tuwair  :     The  library 
had  departments,  divided  into   sections,   eacli  section  with 
a  door   on   hinges  and  with  locks.     It  contained  more  than 
200,000   volumes6.     Poor  is     the   comparison     which   the 
Western  libraries   of  this   period  offer.     In  the  9th   century 
the  Cathedral  library  of  Constance   possessed  356  volumes, 
the  Benedictbeuren7   library  in  1030  just  over   100  volumes 
and  the   Cathedral   library   of    Bam  berg   in   1130  only  96 
volumes8.     Mukaddasi   was  shown     over    the     library     of 

(1)  Subki,  III,  91.  (2)  Margoliouth,  Abul  Ala's,  Letters,  XVI 
(3)  Ibn  Taifur,  Kit,  Baghdad,  ed  Keller,  fol,  62  a.  Even  at  a 
later  time  Yaqut  praises  a  library  at  Merv  where  he  worked  for  3  years 
In  his  time  there  were  12  libraries  there  :  of  these  one  possessed  some 
12,000  volumes.  The  administration  was  very  liberal  and  a  savant 
continually  had  200  volumes  at  a  time  with  him  without  giving  ary 
security.  (One  dinar  being  the  average  value  of  each  book).  Yaqut, 
Oeog  Dictionary,  vol.  IV,  509.  (4)  Thus  reports  the  generally  trust- 
worthy Musabbihi  (d.  420/1029),  a  contemporary  (apud  Maqrizi,  Khitat, 
l,408j,  we  must  not  forget  that  the  numerals  vary  in  different  copyists. 
(6)  Maqrizi.  Khitat,  1.  409.  (6)  Ibid.  (1)  Village  in  Upper  Bavaria, 
(8)  Th.  Gottlieb,  Uebermittelaltcrlichc  Bibliotheken,  22,  23,  37. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  173 

Adad-ud-Dawlah  by  the  Chief  Bed-maker  Itais-al-far- 
rashin  The  library  formed  a  building  by  itself.  It  was 
in  charge  of  a  superintendent  (wdkil)  a  librarian  (khazin) 
and  an  inspector  (mushrif).  Adad-ud-Dawlah  had  collect- 
ed there  every  book  composed  up  to  his  time  in  every 
branch  of  learning.  The  library  consisted  of  a  large  ante- 
room and  a  long  arched  hall  with  rooms  on  all  sides.  In 
the  walls  of  the  hall  and  the  rooms  he  had  inserted 
cupboards  of  veneered  wood  two  yards  long  by  three 
broad  with  doors  which  were  let  down  from  above.  The 
books  were  all  piled  upon  shelves.  Every  branch  of 
learning  had  its  own  cupboards,  and  catalogues,  in  which 
the  names  of  the  books  were  registered.  Only  disting- 
uished people  were  allowed  admission  into  the  library'. 
The  three  passionate  lovers  of  learning  of  the  3rd/9th 
century  were  the  oft  mentioned  Jahiz,  Fath  ibn  Khaqan, 
a  magnate  of  the  Court,  and  Qadi  Ismail  ibn  Ishaq. 
Never  did  a  book  come  to  Jahiz's  hand  but  he  road  it  from 
cover  to  cover,  be  it  what  it  might.  Finally  he  hired  the 
shops  of  the  book-dealers  to  read  the  books  there  on  loan. 
A  later  authority  even  invents  for  him  a  bibliophile's  death. 
He  used  to  heap  up  books  high  around  him  and  one  day 
the  heap  fell  upon  him  and  killed  him'. 

Whenever  he  left  the  Caliph's  table  for  some  business 
or  other  Ibn  Khaqan  pulled  a  book  out  from  his  sleeve  or 
his  shoe  and  read  it  until  his  return.  And  this  he  did 
even  in  the  privy.  "I  always  found  Qadi  Ismail  ibn 
Ishaq  either  reading  a  book  or  shifting  books",''  says 
Ibn  Nadim. 

Sijistani  (d.  275/888)  had  a  wide  and  a  narrow  sleeve 
made  :  the  first  was  intended  for  books  but  the  other  served 
no  purpose*. 

About  the  middle  of  the  3rd/9th  Century  the  courtier 
AH  ibn  Yahya  Munajjiin  established  a  beautiful  library 
on  his  estate  which  he  named  the  'Treasure-house  of 
Wisdom,  (Kliizanat  al-h-ikmah).  From  all  parts  of  the 
world  people  flocked  there  and  were  entertained  at  the 
proprietors  cost.  There  also  came  with  the  pilgrim 
caravan  the  astronomer  Abu  Ma'shar  from  Khorasan. 
He  visited  the  library  and  was  so  captivated  by  it  that 
"he  forgot  both  Islam  and  the  pilgrimage5." 

(1)  Muk  449.  Mea's  rendering  has  been  corrected.  (2)  Abnlfi- 
da,  Annalcx,  '  year  255  (3)  Fihrist.  116  ;  Yaqut  ;  Irshad,  VI,  67  ; 
Gurar  al-fawaid  of  Mur-tadha,  Tehran,  1272.  (4)  Abulmahasm  II, 
79.  (5)  Yaqut  Irshad,  V,  46. 


174  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

An  Isphanian  theologian  and  landowner  (d.  272/885) 
is  said  to  have  spent  300,000  dirhams  on  books1.  Even 
a  Court  Marshal  at  Baghdad  who  died  in  312/924  left 
behind  books  worth  more  than  2,000  dinars".  In  357/967 
among  other  things,  17,000  bound  volumes  were  confis 
cated  belonging  to  a  rebellious  son  of  the  Amir  of  Bagh- 
dad3. In  355/965  the  house  of  the  Wazir  Abul  Fadl  ibn 
Amid  was  so  thoroughly  plundered  by  "itinerant  religious 
warriors'  that  nothing  was  left  behind  to  sit  upon  or  to 
drink  water  from.  The  historian  Ibn-Miskawaihi  was  then 
his  librarian  who  thus  proceeds  :  The  A  lid  Ibn  Hamzah 
sent  carpets  and  utensils  to  him,  but  his  heart  was  troubled 
about  his  books,  for  nothing  was  dearer  to  him  than  books. 
And  he  had  plenty  of  them,  dealing  with  all  sciences  and 
every  branch  of  philosophy  and  literature  —more  than  a 
hundred  camels'  load.  When  he  saw  me,  lie  asked  me 
about  them  and  1  informed  him  that  they  were  as  safe  as 
before  and  that  no  one  had  touched  them.  He  was  delight- 
ed and  said  :  you  are  a  child  of  fortune.  Every  thing 
else  can  be  replaced  but  these  can  never  be.  I  noticed 
how  his  face  lighted  up.  He  added  :  bring  them  to  me 
tomorrow  at  such  and  such  a  place.  I  did  as  I  was  told, 
and  of  all  his  possessions  they  alone  were  saved. 

Sahib  ibn  Abbad  (d.  384/994)  refused  the  invitation 
of  the  Samanid  Prince  to  become  his  Wazir  on  the  ground, 
among  others  of  the  difficulty  of  removal  ;  having  400 
camel-loads  only  of  theological  works.  The  catalogue  of 
his  library  filled  10  volumes.  Under  Sultan  Mahmud  of 
Ghazni,  who  proved  himself  a  Maecenas  neither  to  Firda- 
usi  nor  to  Beruni,  the  books  were  consigned  to  the  flames*. 

The  Qadi  Abul  Mutrif  of  Cordova  (d.  420/1,011)  was  a 
great  collector  of  books.  He  always  had  six  copyists  to 
work  for  him.  Wherever  he  heard  of  a  beautiful  book  ho 
sought  to  secure  it,  making  extravagant  offers  for  it. 
He  never  lent  a  book,  but  would  willingly  get  it  copied  and 
make  a  gift  of  it  without  hesitation.  After  his  death  his 
books  were  sold  for  a  whole  year  in  his  mosque  ;  fetching 
400,000  dinars  for  the  cellection5.  The  Baghdadian 
savant  Al-Baiqani  (d.  425/1,033)  required  63  baskets  and 
two  trunks  for  the  transport  of  his  books  on  removal6. 

(1)  Abu  Nu'aim,  Tarikh  Ispahan,  Leiden,  fol.  51h.  (2)  Sirli,  con- 
temporary and  courtier  in  Aril,  121.  Suli  himself  had  a  big  library 
Ibn  al-Jauzi  796.  (3)  Misk,  VI,  314;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  431.' 
(4)  Yakut,  Irshad,  II,  315.  (5)  Ibn  Bashkuwal,  1,  304  E  (6) 
Wustenfeld,  AGGW,  37  Nr  335.  v; 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  175 

The  Manicliaeans  had  already  shown  delicate  taste  and 
fancy  in  the  get-up  of  their  hooks.  In  311/923,  at  the 
public  gate  of  the  castle  at  Baghdad,  the  portrait  of  Mani, 
together  with  14  sacks  of  heretical  books,  was  burnt. 
Gold  and  silver  fell  out  of  them.  The  supporters  of  the 
schismatic  Al-Hallaj  (executed  in  310/921)  also  imitated 
the  Manicliaeans  in  this  respect.  Their  books  were 
written  in  gold  on  Chinese  paper,  were  encased  in  silk  and 
brocade,  and  were  bound  in  costly  leather'. 

The  State-papers  of  the  Byzantine  Chancery  are 
always  mentioned  as  works  of  art.  In  326/937  a  letter 
of  the  Byzantine  Emperor  came  to  the  Caliph — the 
Greek  text  in  letters  of  gold  and  the  Arabic  translation  in 
letters  of  silver2.  Somewhat  later  another  letter  was  sent 
to  the  Caliph  of  Cordova  in  letters  of  gold  on  sky-blue 
leather.  It  was  encased  in  a  cylinder  of  chased  silver  with 
the  portrait  of  the  emperor  in  coloured  glass  on  the  cover. 
That  entire  work  of  art  was  enveloped  in  brocade5.  The 
poems  of  the  Caliph  Mutamid  were  likewise  inscribed  in 
letters  of  gold*.  The  Wazir  Ibn  Abbad  (d.  386/996) 
personally  drafted  the  letter  of  appointment  of  his  chief 
Qadi  Abdul  Jabbar,  and  himself  copied  it  in  a  most 
extravagant  fashion.  It  consisted  of  700  lines,  each  line 
on  a  folio  and  the  entire  work  fitted  into  an  ivory  case, 
which  looked  not  "unlike  a  thick  column"5.  In  the 
5th/llth  eentury  this  work,  along  with  another  biblio- 
graphical rarity,  was  presented  to  the  Wazir  Nizam  el-Mulk. 
The  latter  was  a  Quran,  the  variants  of  which  were  in  red, 
between  the  lines,  the  explanation  of  uncommon  expres- 
sions in  blue,  and  passages  of  practical  import  in  gold6. 

The  book- lovers'  greatest  joy  consisted  in  MSS  of 
famous  scribes. 

But  along  with  libraries  another  form  of  literary  en- 
dowment came  into  existence.  It  combined  the  collection 
of  books  with  instruction  or,  at  least,  with  remuneration 
for  work  done  in  the  libraries.  The  poet  and  savant  Ibn 
Hamdan  (d.  323/935) — a  distinguished  nobleman  of  Mosul 
— founded  in  his  native  town  a  'House  of  Learning7 
(dar-al»ilm)  with  a  library  possessing  books  on  every 
branch  of  learning.  It  was  open  to  all  who  wished  to 
make  use  of  it.  For  the  poor  paper  was  provided  free. 
For  himself  the  founder  set  apart  a  place  where  he  declaim- 

(1)  Arib,  p.  90,  according  to  Misk.  (2)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  59  a. 
(3)  Maqq,  e<i.  Dozy,  1,  257.  (4)  Es-Snli,  to  whom  the  Caliph  el- 
Muktafi  had  shown  it.  Apud  Shabushti,  396.  (5)  Es-Subki,  Tab., 
II.,  230.  (6;  Es-Subki,  II,  230. 


176  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

ed  his  verses  or  those  of  others  and  dictated  historical  and 
juristic  notes'.  The  Qadi  Ibn  Hibban  (d.  354/965)  be- 
queathed to  the  town  of  Nisabur  a  house  with  "  Jibrary 
and  quarters  for  foreign  students  and  provided  stipends 
for  their  maintenance."  The  books  were  not  to  be  lent 
out'.  A  courtier  of  Adud-ud-Dawlah  (d.  372/t)82)  built 
at  Kam-Hormuz  on  the  Persian  Gulf — as  at  Basrah — a 
library  where  those  who  read  or  copied  received  a  grant. 
At  Ram-Hormuz  a  Mutazilite  theologian  always  lectured 
on  Mutazilite  principles.  In  383  the  Buwayyid  wazir 
Sabur  ibn  Ardashir  (d.  415/1,024)  founded  a  House  of 
Learning'  (dar-al-ilm)  on  the  west  side  of  Baghdad1'. 
Besides,  10,400  volumes,  mostly  authors'  autographs,  and 
copies  belonging  to  celebrated  scholars,  it  possessed  100 
copies,  of  the  Quran  written  by  the  Banu  Muklah*.  The 
management  was  in  the  hands  of  two  Alids  and  a  Qadi. 

Further  Ar-Radi,  poeb  and  registrar  of  the  Alids  (d. 
406/1,016)  established  one  such  '  House  of  Learning '  for 
students  (Talabat  ul-ilni) ;  making  necessary  arrangements 
for  their  needs  (Diwan,  Beyrut  I,  3).  The  name  signifies 
the  change.  The  old  institutions,  which  were  libraries, 
pure  and  simple,  were  called  the  '  Treasure-house  of 
wisdom '  Kliizanat  al-Hikmali — the  newer  ones  'The 
House  of  Learning'  (Dar  al-ilni)  in  which  the  library  was 
merely  a  special  section.  Even  in  Egypt  such  academies 
were  founded.  In  378/988  Aziz  purchased  a  house  by 
the  side  of  Al-Azhar  and  endowed  it  for  35  theologians 
who  held  their  sittings  for  learned  discussions  every 
Friday  in  the  mosque  between  the  midday  and  the  after- 
midday  prayer.  Thus,  the  Islamic  academy,  which  is 
still  the  greatest  academy  in  Islam,  dates  from  the 
4th/10th  century.  The  wazir  Ibn  Killis  established  a 
private  academy.  He  is  reported  to  have  spent  1,000, 
dinars  every  month  for  professors,  copyists  and  book- 
binders5. In  935  the  Caliph  al-Hakim  founded  a  Dar-al 


(1)  Irshad,  II,  420.  (2)  Wustenfeld  AGGW,  37.  (3)  Muk. 
Fihrist,  139,  (Ibn  Khali,  1,250.  Prof.  Margoliouth  says  that  it  was  found- 
ed in  381,  in  a  part  of  Baghdad  called  'between  the  two  walls'  in 
the  quarter  of  Karkh,  Letter*  of  Abul  Ala,  XXIV,  Tr.)  <4)  Ibn  Khali,  II, 
80;  Ibn  Jauzi,  fol.  135  a.  The  library  was  burnt  down  in  450/1058. 
Ibn  al-Athir,  IX  247.  Books,  which  earlier  were  in  possession  of 
famous  men,  are  of  special  importance  in  theological  literature  for  they 
furnish  in  a  manner  a  chain  of  tradition  and  a  guarantee  of  accuracy. 
For  this  reason  the  reader  carefully  noted  his  name  on  the  cover  of  the 
book.  In  Yaqut's  Irshad  (vi,  359)  it  is  noted  how  the  librarian  of  this 
library  was  shown  that  the  books  were  being  eaten  bv  worms.  ( 5) 
Yahya  ibn  Sa'id,  his  contemporary  and  countryman,  fol,  108  a. 


THE  HENAISSANCM  Of  ISLAM  177 

ilm  at  Cairo  in  which  he  gathered  together  books  out  of 
the  different  libraries  in  the  citadel.  It  was  thrown  open 
to  all.  Besides  the  lecturers  who  lectured  there — lie 
appointed  a  librarian  and  two  assistants7.  Pen,  paper  and 
ink  were  supplied  free  of  cost. 

We  possess  the  budget  of  this  institution.  Its  main- 
tenance cost  257  dinars  a  year. 

Among  other  items  of  expenses : — 

Paper      ...                 ...  ...  ...  90  Dinars. 

Pay  of  the  Librarian  ....  ....  48  Dinars. 

Pay  of  the  Servants  ....  ....  15  Dinars. 

Pay  of  the  Officer  in  charge  of   Paper,  Ink 

and  Pens   of  reed  ....  ....  12  Dinars. 

Repairs                      ....  ....  ....  12  Dinars. 

Drinking-water         ....  ....  ....  12  Dinars. 

Abbadan  mats          ....  ....  ....  10  Dinars. 

Felt-Carpet  for  winter  ....  ....  5  Dinars, 

Covering   for   winter  ...  ....  4  Dinars. 

Repair  of  Door  Curtains  ....  ....  1  Dinar. 

AI-Afdal  shut  up  the  library,  because  it  became  the 
centre  of  religious  strife  and  sectarian  disputes13.  Theo- 
logical and  juristic  lectures  were  mostly  delivered  at  the 
mosques  where  tho  audience  formed  a  circle  in  front  of  the 
lecturer  who,  whenever  possible,  took  his  place  with  his 
back  to  a  pillar1.  If  any  one  posted  himself  near  such  a 
circle,  people  called  to  him  to  turn  towards  the  class. 
At  the  chief  mosque  of  Cairo  Mukaddasi  reckoned  120 
such  circles  in  tho  evening'7.  The  most  famous  educa 
tional  centre  of  the  empire  then  was  the  oldest  chief  mosque 
of  Baghdad — the  mosque  of  Mansur\  The  Khatib  al- 
Baghdadi  is  said  to  have  taken,  while  on  a  pilgrimage, 
three  draughts  from  the  well  of  Zemzem,  each  draught 
signifying  a  wish :  that  he  might  compose  a  history  of 
Baghdad,  that  he  might  ba  allowed  to  dictate  traditions 
at  the  mosque  of  Mansur,  and  that  he  might  be  buried 
near  the  grave  of  Bisr  el-Hafi.  For  fiftty  years,  there  sat 
in  this  mosque,  by  one  and  the  same  pillar  Naftawaihi 
(d.  323/935),  chief  of  the  Zahirite  school  of  Jurisprudence.6 


CD  Yahya,  fol.  116  a.  (2)  Maqriri,  Khitat  II,  458.  (3)  Muk,  205. 
In  314/926  the  Tigris,  near  Mosul,  was  frozen  with  the  result  that  one 
could  actuary  rule  across  it,  To  celebrate  the  occasion  Abu  Zikrah  safe 
in  the  middle  of  the  river  \vith  a  circle  of  audience  around  him  to  whom 
he  dictated  notes.  Ibn  al-Jauai,  fol.  31  a.  (4)  Yaqiit,  Irsltad,  1,  240. 
(5)  Guy  Le  Strange,  Baghdad,  p,  33.  Tr.  (6)  Irshad  1.  809. 


178  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Within  the  theological  circle,  lectures  of  the  canon- 
ists, dealing  with  professional  learning,  drew  the  largest 
audiences.  And  yet,  compared  with  the  figures  to-day, 
the  number  is  relatively  small,  whence  we  can  infer  that 
the  number  of  competing  teachers  was  great.  Abu  Hamid 
aMsfaraini,  (d.  406/].,015)  the  most  renowned  jurist  of  the 
century,  called  the  second  Shafi'i  drew  only  3  to  700  disci- 
ples at  the  mosque  of  Ibn  al-Mubarak  at  Baghdad  where  he 
lectured7. 

The  most  famous  lecturer  in  jurisprudence  at  Nishapur, 
the  great  centre  of  learning  in  the  hCast,  had  an  audience 
of  over  500  on  Friday  the  23rd  of  Mohan-urn,  387/997" ; 
a  successor  of  his — the  "  incomparable "  Juwaini  (d. 
478/1085)  had  a  daily  audience  of  300? ;  whereas,  to-day,  for 
instance,  in  the  God— forsaken  Kashghar  (East  Turkistan) 
the  first  professor  lectures,  sometimes  in  our  days,  to  an 
audience  of  500.* 

They  counted  the  students  from  the  number  of  ink- 
pots which  they  put  before  them  ;  for  the  ink-pot  was  the 
most  important  part  of  a  student's  equipment.'7 

The  enraged  audience  of  the  famous  Tabari  Hung  ink- 
pots at  him  when  he  said  something  which  they  did  not 
approve  of.G  On  the  death  of  the  lecturer,  students 
smashed  the  ink-pots  and  broke  their  pens  of  reed  and 
went  about  the  town  shrieking  and  lamenting.  At  the 
death  of  the  above-mentioned  Juwaini,  who  also  was 
a  famous  preacher,  his  pulpit  was  thrown  down  and  the 
entire  Nishapur  shared  the  academic  grief.  "  The  gates 
of  the  town  were  closed  and  instead  of  a  head-gear  they 
covered  the  head  with  a  handkerchief7." 

People  brought  their  books  to  college  in  a  receptacle 
called  c  flask/  doubtless  with  academic  humour/ 

In  earlier  times  dictation  (iuila)  was  counted  as  the 
highest  stage  of  instruction'0.  In  the  3rd/9th  century  it 
was  largely  resorted  to  by  theologians  and  philologers. 
The  Mutazilite  el-Jubbai  is  said  to  have  dictated  150,000 
leaves  and  yet  he  was  never  seen  to  refer  to  any  book 
except  the  calendar  of  Khwarezini'*.  Abu  Ali  al-Qali 


(1)  Wustenfeld,  AGGW,  37,  Nr.  287;  es-Siibki.  III.  25;  Ibn 
al-Athir,  IX,  183,  mentions  400,  (2)  Nawawi,  Tahdhib,  ed  Wnstenfeld, 
307;  Subki,  II,  170.  (3)  Subki,  II,  252.  (4)  Hartmann,  CMnesisch- 
Turkestan,  45.  (5)  Nawawi  and  Subi.  (6)  Yaqut,  Irxhatl,  VI  436. 
(7)  Wustonfold,  AGGW,  37  Nr  365;  Subki,  11,257.  (8)  'Qarurah' 
— probably  this  word  was  used  for  a  case.  cf.  Dozy,  Yaqnt,  Irshad, 
11,10.  (9)  Suyuti,  Miushir,  I,  30;  apud  Goldziher,  S.  W.  A.  69,20. 
(10)  Ahmad  Ibn  Yahya,  ed.  Arnold,  47. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  179 

dictated  five  volumes'.  The  student  made  a  note  on  the 
leaf  of  his  note-book  :  "  Lecture,  dictated  by  our  Shaikh 
N.  N.,  at  such  and  such  a  place,  on  such  and  such  a  day3." 

In  the  4th/10th  century,  however,  the  philologer  gave 
up  the  Theologian's  method  of  teaching.  Instead  of  dic- 
tating notes  he  took  to  explaining  and  commenting 
(Tadris)  upon  a  work,  read  out  by  one  of  his  pupils, 
"  not  unlike  the  method  pursued  in  explaining  compendi- 
ums  "  (MuJihtasamt).  Abul  Qasim  Ez-/ajjaji  (d.  339/950) 
is  said  to  have  been  the  last  to  dictate  lexicography*. 
As  expressly  stated  by  Suyuti,  in  the  sphere  of  theology, 
dictation,  however,  continued  to  be  the  approved  method. 
When  that  vain  wazir,  Saheb  ibn  Abbad  (d.  385/995) 
dictated  traditions  he  naturally  had  a  uumber  of  syco- 
phants as  his  audience  who  took  down  notes.  Each  copyist 
had  six  others  attached  to  him,  each  of  whom  repeated  the 
dictation  to  the  other5.  But  dictation,  here,  too  showed 
signs  of  decline  and  only  a  few  savants  preferred  it  to 
Tadris*. 

The  history  of  the  Kital  al  Yaqut  of  Mutarriz  (d, 
345/956)  shows  how  a  book  grew  out  of  dictation.  From 
the  24th  of  Moharrum  326/936  he  dictated  die  ad  diem 
this  book  until  completed.  To  this  he  added  a  great 
number  of  notes  and  supplements.  Abu  Ishaq  et-Tabari, 
then,  read  the  book  out  before  him,  the  students  listening 
and  he  making  further  additions  to  it.  Then  from  Dhul- 
qada  of  329/940  to  Eabi  II  of  331/942  Abul  Fath  read  it 
out  to  him  when  the  notes  of  the  best  pupils  were  compared 
and  yet  further  additions  made  by  the  author.  Then  he 
added  fresh  chapters  and  supplements  which  Abu- 
Mohamad  Wahb  took  down.  This  done,  Abu  Ishaq  et- 
Tabari  had  once  more  to  read  the  book  over  to  him.  Then 
the  final  shape  was  given,  the  author  promising  to  make  no 
further  additions6. 

The  altered  mode  of  instruction  called  new  educational 
institutions  into  being.  The  predominance  of  Tadris 
gave  birth  to  the  Madras&hs:  the  main  reason  being  that 
with  Tadris  went  hand  in  hand  Mnnazarah  (disputation) 
and  the  mosque  was  hardly  deemed  a  fit  place  for  such  a 
method  of  study  and  instruction  . 

In  this   sphere,   too  the  4th/10th  century  moulded  the 


(1)  Snyuti.  (2)  Subki  III.  259.  [3]  Ahmad  ibn  Yabya,  od  Arnold 
47.  [4]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  312.  [5]  Ahmad  ibn  Yahya,  63.  At  the  time 
of  Haji  Khalifa  the  traditionists  seem  to  have  finally  abondoned  dictation. 
Marcais,  Le  Taqrib  de  en-Nawawi  JA.  1901,  18  p.  87.  [6]  Fihrist  76. 


180  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

form  which  exists  to  this  day.  Tradition,  as  a  whole, 
points  to  Nishapur — then  the  greatest  centre  of  learning 
in  the  East — as  the  hirth-place  of  the  Madrasah.  The 
best  authority — Al-Hakim,  the  historian,  of  the  Nisha- 
purian  Savants,  says  that  the  first  Madrasah  was  founded 
there  for  the  benefit  of  his  contemporary  Isfaraini  (d. 
418/1,027)'.  The  madrasah  of  Ibn  Furak  (d.  406/l,01o) 
can  only  have  been  a  few  years  younger2.  Both  Isfraini 
and  Ibn.  Furak  were  ardent  disciples  Al-Ashari  and  must 
have  preferred  dogmatic  discussions — even  Tadris — to 
simple  transmission  of  traditions3.  A  third  Nisapurian 
(d.  429/1,037)  who  built  a  madrasah  for  the  savants  in 
front  of  his  house  was  a  chief  wiidarris  (lecturer)  and  a 
disputant  hnnn'iziry*. 

In  the  great  colleges  the  assistant  professor  sat  on  a 
raised  seat  enjoining  silence  and  lepeating  the  words  of 
the  professor  for  the  benefit  of  those  who  wore  at  a  dis- 
tance from  him.  At  the  theological  lectures  the  professor 
began:  Praise  be  to  God  and  blessings  on  his  Prophet. 
Then  ho  caused  verses  of  the  Quran  to  be  recited  by  one  of 
his  pupils  with  a  fine  voice.  This  done,  the  professor 
prayed  for  the  town  and  his  pupils.  The  assistant  profes- 
sor then  enjoined  silence  invoicing  the  name  of  God  and 
praising  the  Prophet.  Next  he  addressed  the  professor 
saying :  May  God  be  gracious  to  thee,  whom  wilt  thou 
quote  ?  And  each  time  the  name  of  prophet  or  a  saint 
occurred,  he  pronounced  the  prescribed  Formula5. 

About  300/912  a  teacher  began  with  the  Qman,  and 
its  various  readings  then  passed  on  to  the  sayings  of  the 
Prophet  and,  whenever  a  strange  proposition  or  an  un- 
common expression  occurred,  he  explained,  discussed  and 
questioned  his  audience  as  to  the  sense*.  Students  were 
allowed  at  the  lecture  to  get  up  and  question  the  teacher, 
as  the  history  of  a  philologer  (d.  415/1,024)  shows.  First 
one  rose  and  asked :  0  Abu  Ubaidah  !  What  is  that  ? 
Then  a  second  and  a  third.  Since  all  three  asked  silly 


[1J  Subki,  Tabaqat,  III,  111,  137.  Maqrizi  (Khitat,  II,  363; 
thinks  that  the  madrasah  of  Baihaqi  [d.  454/1 ,062,)  was  the  first  and 
Dhahabi  that  of  Nizam-ul-Mulk.  [Subki  III,  137].  In  Jauhari  the 
word  is  not  found  but  in  Hamadani  it  occurs.  Eas.  p,  247.  [2]  Subki, 
III,  52.  [3]  Eibera  seeks  to  establish  in  his  interesting  essay  '  Origan  del 
Colcgio  Nidami  de  B'igMad'  [reprinted  in  his  Opuscula]  that  the 
madrasah  originally  was  a  Karramite  institution.  But  there  is  no  proof 
for  this  theory.  [4]  Subki.  111,33  [Nawawi,  Taqrib,3A,  1901,  18  p 88.  That 
this  also  obtained  in  the  4/10th  century  is  shown  by  the  order  of  the 
Khatib:  "that  this  formula  is  to  be  louldly  recited."  [6]  Yaqut,  Jrshad 
VI,  282, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM  181 

questions,  Abu  Ubaidah  took  his  sandals,  ran  into  the  mosque 
and  called  out;  How  come  all  the  cattle  to  be  herded  in 
my  room  today7! 

The  pious  scruple  against  transmitting  traditions 
which  had  previously  existed,  had  not  yet  quite  dis- 
appeared2. Birqani  (d.  425/10,34)  tells  us  that  his  teach- 
er was  always  reluctant  to  teach  tradition.  His  pupils, 
whenever  he  spoke  to  any  one,  were  wont  to  step  aside 
and,  without  his  knowledge,  to  make  notes  of  traditions 
which  he  wove  into  his  conversation5.  Another  actually 
refused  to  teach  tradition  until  he  was  seventy ;/.  And 
yet  the  transmission  of  tradition  was  an  act  of  worship 
and  required  a  certain  amount  of  purification.  "  It  is 
desirable  that  the  transmitter  of  traditions  should  purify, 
perfume  himself  and  comb  his  beard  before  beginning  his 
lecture.  He  is  to  sit  upright  in  a  dignified  posture.  He 
is  to  take  severely  to  task  any  one  who  interrupts  him. 
But  he  himself  should  be  polite  and  courteous  to  all5.'1 

Prom  the  2nd /8th  and  3rd/9th  centuries  we  hear  of 
people,  who  seeking  intercession  for  a  sick  or  needy  person, 
throw  a  slip  of  paper  before  an  honoured  theologian  while 
sitting  with  his  circle  of  students  around  him.  The  profess- 
or picks  it  up,  it  utters  a  prayer  and  the  students  confirm 
it  with  Amiu.  Then  the  instruction  proceeds*.  The  foll- 
owing story  comes  from  the  4th/10th  century. 

One  day,  during  his  wizarat,  Saheb  ibn  Abbad,  intend- 
ing to  dictate  notes,  showed  himself,  in  the  fashion  of  a 
theologian,  in  a  veil  and  chinband  and  said  :  "  You  know 
my  zeal  for  theology  " — his  statement  was  confirmed  by 
the  audience.  He,  then,  proceeded  :  "  I  am  always  pre- 
occupied with  this  subject.  Whatever  I  have  spent,  in 
acquiring  a  knowledge  of  it,  from  childhood  up  to  now, 
has  come  from  my  father's  and  grandfather's  purse  and 
yet  I  have  not  kept  free  from  lapses.  God  and  you  are  my 
witnesses  that  I  do  penance  to  God  for  any  sin  commit- 
ted." He  owned  a  house  which  he  named  the  '  house  of 


[1]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  V,  272.  [2]  Goldziher  Z.  D.  M.  G.  Vol.  [1907], 
p.  861.  See  also  Samarqandi's  Bitstan  el-arifin  [p.  10]  where  one  says : 
I  have  met  120  companions  of  the  Prophet  and  there  wag  no  traditonist 
among  them  who  did  not  wish  some  one  other  than  himself  to  repeat 
traditions  and  no  mufti  among  them  either  who  did  not  prefer  some 
one  other  than  himself  to  decide.  [3]  Marcais  in  the  Taqrib  of  Nawawi' 
J.  A.  1901.  17  p.  196  note  2.  [4]  Subki  Tabaqat  II,  161.  [5]  Taqrib 
pp.  18,85  ff,  [J.  A.  1901].  From  Ghazzali  Marcais  quotes  that  Sufian 
Thauri  always  seated  the  poor  in  the  very  first  rank. 


182  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

penance,'  There  he  was  wont  to  remain  for  some  weeks 
(doing  penance),  taking  care  that  the  validity  of  his 
penance  was  testified  to  by  canonists.  On  completion  of 
the  penance  ho  dictated  notes.  To  every  copyist  some 
six  others  attached  themselves,  of  these  six  every  one 
passed  on  the  dictated  matter  to  others'.  Darqutni 
(d.  385/995)  silently  prayed  while  the  students  read  aloud 
before  him.  He  called  attention  to  mistakes  by  saying  : 
'  Sub kan,  Allah.'  We  are  also  told  as  an  example  of  his 
acumen  that  he  corrected  mistakes  by  citations  from  the 
Quran'.  A  theologian,  who  died  in  406/1,015,  began  his 
lectures  by  recitations  from  the  Quran  and  traditions  and, 
during  the  whole  time,  never  moved  a  limb  till  he  was 
quite  exhausted7,  Balrili  always  sat  at  the  lecture  which 
he  delivered  once  a  week  behind  a  curtain  for  fear  that  his 
pupils  might  look  upon  him  and  the  populace  with  one 
and  the  same  eyo.  On  account  of  deep  pre-occupation  with 
God  lie  had  become  frenzied  and  never  knew  what  length 
his  lecture  had  reached  until  reminod  of  it''.  Theological 
lecture  concluded  with  a  prayer,  prefaced  by  Qumu,  stand 
up5. 

Opinion  was  naturally  divided  as  to  the  age  when 
study  should  begin.  Some  recommended  that  the  study 
of  tradition  should  not  commence  until  the  30th  year ; 
others  not  until  the  20th.  In  the  Vlth  century  Qadi 
lyadh  of  Cordova  (d.  544/1,  149)  states  the  opinion  of 
experts  to  be  that  the  study  of  tradition  should  not  be 
taken  up  before  the  age  of  5.  In  support  of  this  view, 
even  a  tradition  from  Bukhari  (film,  ch.  18)  is  cited  and 
Nawawi,  who  died  in  476/1,083,  states  this  to  be  the  gener- 
al rule  in  his  time.  The  famous  Humaidi  is  said  to  have 
been  carried  on  his  father's  shoulder  for  instruction5 . 
And,  for  this  reason,  indeed,  notices  of  learned  men  in- 
variably refer  to  the  age  when  they  commenced  to  attend 
lectures. 

Rare  are  the  instances  of  boys  of  six  attending  lectures. 
The  famous  Qadi  Tanukhi  (d.  384/994)  belongs  to  this 
rare  group7.  Abu  Nu'aim  of  Ispahan,  the  greatest  tradi- 
tionist  of  the  age,  began  attending  lectures  at  eight8.  But 
generally  they  commenced  at  11.  At  the  age  of  11  the 


(1)  Irthacl,  IT,  312.  (For  his  life,  see,  Ibn  Khali,  II,  239).  (2)  Sttbki, 
II,  312.  (Ibn  Asakir  on  'Dictation1,  Ibn  Khali,  II,  253  Tr.)  (3)  Ibn 
al-Jauw,  fol.  163  a.  (4)  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  257,  (5)  Subki,  Tabaaat 

Si  i9n  %?rft'  J*  A'   19°L  1?"  p'  193'  (7)  ^n  aWau,i,  fol  130  bj 
(8»  Subki  III,  8.  f 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  183 

famous  Khatib',  three  of  his  disciples,  and  Ibn  al-Jauzr 
began  attending  lectures. 

There  were  teachers,  indeed,  who  would  not,  at  their 
lectures,  admit  beardless  youths  for  fear  of  love-intrigues, 
An  ardent,  youthful  scholar,  had  to  use,  in  consequence,  a 
false  beard*. 

There  was  a  difference  of  opinion  even  as  to  the  age 
when  one  should  teach  theology.  Nawawi  seems  to  think 
that  one  could  do  so  at  any  ago  provided  an  audience  is 
found.  The  old  teacher  should  cease  to  lecture  when  he 
feels  that  through  age  or  blindness  he  mixes  up  traditions7'. 
As  a  poor  student,  Isfaraini,  the  greatest  Shafiite  jurist 
of  the  4th/10tb  centurv,  worked  as  a  porter5.  Others 
went  through  their  course  of  study  by  sleeping  on  the 
minaret  of  the  mosque  in  which  they  heard  lectures. 

It  is  related  of  the  wazir  Ibn  al-Furat  (d.  312/924) 
that,  during  his  wazarat,  ho  allowed  20,00  dirhams  as  a 
permanent  annual  grant  to  poets,  apart  from  individual 
donations  or  gifts  for  panegyrics.  In  his  last  wizarat  he 
thought  of  his  students  and  said  :  Perhaps  they  can  ill- 
afford  to  spare  a  penny  or  even  less  to  buy  ink  and  paper. 
It  is,  then,  my  duty  to  help  and  provide  them  with  these. 
And  he,  according  by,  sanctioned  20,000  dirhams  out  of  his 
own  purse  for  these6. 

This  story  suggests  that  institutions  for  students  were 
not  common  then.  Moreover,  the  larger  portion  of  this 
grant,  as  is  expressly  stated;  was  diverted  to  other  pur- 
poses. The  poor  scholar — when  not  a  jurist  or  official — 
earned  a  living  as  copyist,  as  did  the  Christian  Yahya  ibn 
Adi  (d.  364/974).  One  of  the  outstanding  philosophers  of 
the  4th/10th  century,  who  twice  transcribed  the  entire 
commentary  of  Tabari  on  the  Quran,  used  to  copy  as 
many  as  100  leaves  in  twenty-four  hours7.  Abu  Hatim, 
who  for  50  years  worked  as  copyist  at  Nishapur,  thus  ex- 
presses himself :  "  Copying  is  a  wretched,  accursed  busi- 
ness. It  secures  neither  bread  to  the  living  nor  a  shroud 
to  the  dead8."  By  copying  Daqqaq  (d.  489/7,096) 

(1)  Tarikh  Bayhdad,  J.  B,  A.  S.  1902,  p  50.  (2j  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  137  b 
(3)  Wustenfeld,  Schafiiten,  AGGW  37,  Nr.  88.  (4)  Taqrib,  J  A 
(1901)  18  p  50.  Tbe  later  theorists  are  very  severe  upon  blind 
theologians.  Some  even  refuse  to  regard  them  as  trustworthy  tradi- 
tionists,  an  indication  of  the  value  set  upon  writing  and  a  correspond- 
ing decline  in  the  high  esteem  in  which  memory  was  held  in  the  past. 
The  Khatih  rules  :  Wo  are  to  look  upon  a  blind  theologian  or  tradi- 
tionist  in  the  same  light  as  an  uneducated  person  with  eyes.  Ibid,  p.  63 
(M  AHttW  37  Nr  28.  (6)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,255.  Wuz.  201  f.  (7) 


184  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

maintained  mother,  wife,  and  daughter.  In  course  of  a 
year  he  copied  the  Sahih  of  Muslim.  He  once  dreamed 
that  on  the  Day  of  Judgment  he  was  absolved  and  u  as  I 
was  through  the  gate  of  Paradise"  says  he, "  I  threw  myself 
at  full  length  on  my  back,  put  one  leg  on  the  other  and 
called  out  'ah,  now,  by  God,  i  am  rid  of  copying7'." 

The  imposture  of  the  copyists  was  regarded  as  a  mis- 
fortune of  learing2.  Extremely  conscientious  savants  co- 
pied their  libraries  out  for  themselves1',  whenever  possible. 

Private  tuition  did  not  bring  in  much.  A  whole  band 
of  savants;  e.  </.,  the  entire  Hanafite  school,  Ahmad  Ibn 
Hanbal,  Sufyan  Thauri  and  others,  declare  it  unlawful  for 
teachers  to  take  money  for  instruction  in  Quran  and 
tradition*. 

Others  considered  it  lawful  bu  placed  the  traditionist 
higher  who  "only  taught  for  the  sake  of  heavenly  reward." 
Even  Nawawi  in  the  8th/ 13th  century  refused  to  accept 
the  salary,  assigned  for  his  post,  at  Ashrafiyyah. 

After  an  unremuneratcd  lecture  of  tho  sort  mentioned 
the  pupils  said  :  May  God  reward  thee  !  Where  upon 
the  teacher  replied  :  May  God  let  it  profit  ye'T. 

In  346/957  there  died  a  famous  Khorasanian  teacher, 
who  became  so  hard  of  hearing,  from  his  thirtieth  year, 
that  he  could  not  even  hear  the  braying  of  a  donkey. 
When  ho  went  to  the  mosque  to  deliver  lectures  he  invari- 
ably found  it  full  of  people  who  carried  him  on  their 
shoulder  to  his  seat.  He  would  receive  no  remuneration 
for  his  lectures  but  earned  a  living  as  copyist6'.  Jauzaki 
(d.  388/998)  said  :  "10,00,000  dirhams  havo  I  spent  on 
Traditions  but  not  a  single  dirliam  havo  1  earned  thereby.  " 
An  Alid,  wishing  to  present  300  dinars  to  the  famous, 
Khatib  al-Baghdadi,  who  happened  to  be  at  the  masque 
of  Tyre,  placed  the  sum  on  his  prayer  carpet.  The  Khatib 
took  up  the  prayer  carpet  in  anger  and  left  the  mosque. 
The  Alid  had  to  pick  up  the  gold  pieces  from  the  fissures  in 
the  mat7. 

To  become  a  school-master,  as  the  later  famous  Abu 
Zaid  al-Balkhi  (d.  322/933)  became,  meant  'Sour  bread 
and  a  despised  occupation8."  Jahiz  has  written  a  book  on 
school-masters  which  is  full  of  fun  and  of  anecdotes,  de- 
scriptive of  their  helplessness  and  folly.  "As  stupid  as 

(1)  Yaqufc,  Jrxhad,  VI  337.  (2)  Yatimah,  IV,  122,  (3)  Often,  partic- 
ularly in  tho  account,  of  the  lives  of  the  Malekite  jurists,  e.  #.,  Bibl.  Arab- 
hi xp  (4)  Muk.  Buxtan  el-are}in.  Marcais,  Taqrib,  J  A  (1901)  17  p.  143 
(5)  Subki,  II.  297.  (6)  Ibn  al-  Jauzi,  fol.  87.  (7)  Subki,  II  169.  (8) 
Subki,  III,  14. 


THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM  185 

a.  school-master"  was  a  familiar  proverb/  Greek  comedy 
may  he  responsible  for  much  of  this,  for  in  it  the  school- 
master  is  a  stock  comic  figure'.  But  it  was  averred  in  all 
seriousness  that  the  oaths  of  weavers,  sailors,  and  those 
who  let.  animals  on  hire  have  no  validity  hi  law  and 
those  of  the  carriers  of  loads  and  school -masters  but 
partial  validity'.  Ibn  Habib  (d.  24*5/859)  counsels  : 
when  you  ask  one  regarding  his  business  and  he  answers, 
School-mater !  then  give  him  a  cuff ''.  Ibn  Haukal 
reports'7 :  "The  daily  consumption  of  onions  has  made 
the  Sicilians  weak-minded  with  the  result  that  they  see 
things  otherwise  than  as  they  are.  As  an  illustration  they 
regardf  the  school-masters,  of  whom  there  are  more  than 
300,  as  the  noblest  and  the  most  important  members  of 
their  community  and  out  of  them  make  confidants  and 
choose  assessors  in  their  courts.  But  we  all  know  how  cribbed 
and  confined  is  the  understanding  of  the  school-masters  and 
how  light-headed  they  are  !  Through  cowardice  and  fear 
of  fighting  they  have  resorted  to  their  occupation." 

The  School-master  was  paid  at  times  in  kind.  Pro- 
verbial is  the  School-master's  kitchen  for  its  heterogene- 
ous contents.  It  was  great  or  small,  good  or  bad 
according  to  the  purse  or  the  generosity  of  the  pupils' 
parents.  Jahiz  said  of  a  school-master. 

Their  cakes  and  bread,  that  is  no  good — 
A   plague   upon   such  work   and   food''. 

More  happily  placed  were  private-tutors  (nvuaddib)  in 
rich  houses.  An  ordinary  teacher  received  about  60 
dirhams  for  tuition  ;  exceptionally  competent  ones  not 
quite  a  thousand7.  A  private  tutor  of  this  sort  received 
70  dirhams  per  month  at  the  house  of  an  officer  of  Abdullah 
ibn-Tahir  in  the  3rd/9th  century  but  he  stood  under  the 
supervision  of  his  own  teacher  who  had  recommended 
him  and  who  occasionally  examined  the  boys  and  had 
the  power  of  removing  him,  if  necessary8.  Most  fortunate 
indeed,  were  the  tutors  of  princes.  Such  a  position  was 
held  by  distinguished  philologers.  Mohamed  ibn  Abdullah 


(1)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,141.  (2)  Jahiz,  Bayan  1,100.  (3)  Jbn 
Kutaibah,  Uyun  al-Akhbar,  93.  (4)  Yaqut.  IrsJuid,  VI,  473.  (5)  p.  gg. 
(6)  Tha'alabi,  Kit.  umad  el-mansub  ZDMG,  VI,.  There  was  no  school 
on  Tuesdays  and  Fridays  (Ibn  al-Mutazz  II,  1 ;  Abulqasim,  LVII)- 
For  later  times  Alif  Ba  1,208  ;  Madkhal,  II,  168.  Children  wrote  with 
chalk  on  boards  (Muk,  440).  Simps  were  used  for  chastisement 
Tfatimah,  II,  63.  (7)  Jahiz,  Bayan,  1,  151.  (8)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,  122. 


186  THE  KENAIRHANCE  OF  ISLAM 

ibn  Tahir,  one  of  the  most  generous  men  of  his  time, 
allowed  to  the  grammarian  Tha'lab,  the  resident  private 
tutor  of  his  sou,  a  house  close  by  the  palace  where  he  and 
his  pupil  lived,  receiving  daily  seven  rations  of  black 
bread,  a  ration  of  wheat  bread,  seven  pounds  of  meat, 
forage  for  horses,  and  a  stipend  of  1,030  dirhams'.  In 
30-2/914  the  son  of  the  Wazir  celebrated  at  Baghdad  the 
admission  of  his  son  to  the  school-room  with  an  invitation 
to  300  guests  -odicers  of  all  rank  and  status.  The  private 
tutor  received  1,000  dinars  as  present*.  In  the  school-room 
of  princes  a  slave  of  his  tutor  stood  by  the  side  of  the 
little  Mamun  to  take  the  board  from  his  hand,  wipe  it  and, 
again,  hand  it  back  to  him*.  At  court,  savants  were  always 
welcome  and  received  pension.  They  were  classed  under 
two  headings:  (1)  Jurists  (Fitf/alm)  and  ^2)  Theologians 
('Uleuia).  The  third  and  the  best  paid  group  was  that  of 
the  Nil  da  ma  (messmates  of  the  sovereign)  of  the  Caliphs. 
The  same  individual  could  draw  simultaneously  all  the 
three  stipends.  It,  then,  made  up  300  dinars  a  month 
with  free  quarters',  The  philologer  Ibn  Duraid  (d. 
321/033)  received  from  Al-muqtadir  50  dinars  per  month 
when  he  came  destitute  to  Baghdad'7.  Al-Farabi 
(d.  339/950)  received  from  Saif-ud-Dawlah,  the  ruler  of 
Aleppo,  one  dirham  per  day  and  was  quite  satisfied  with 
it(;.  Rarely,  indeed,  do  \vo  read  of  a  savant,  at  this 
period,  concerning  himself  with  any  business  or  craft  as 
a  means  of  livelihood.  Sibglri  (d.  344/955),  however  sold 
dye.  In  his  shop  met  all  the  traditionists  of  the  day7. 
He  bequeathed  this,  his  house,  'the  House  of  Law' 
(Dar  as-Hminah)  to  a  savant  as  Madrasah  and  made  a 
suitable  endowment  for  it8.  Diligh  (d.  351/962),  who  was 
at  once  a  savant  and  a  successful  merchant,  died  leaving 
behind  300,000  dinars  (3  million  marks).  He  sent  his 
collection  of  books  to  a  colleague,  inserting  between  every 
two  folios  a  gold  piece.  He  used  to  say  :  '  There  is 
nothing  m  the  world  like  Baghdad,  nothing  in  Baghdad 
like  the  Qatiah,  nothing  in  Qatiah  like  the  Derb-AMkhaliJ, 
nothing  in  the  Deb-Ahi  Khali f  like  my  house". 

Another  who  Jived  in  old  Cairo  had  tailoring  as  his 
sole  means  of  subsistence.  Every  week  he  made  a  coat 
(Qamis)  for  a  dirham  and  two  danaqs  and  maintained 
himself  thereby — not  accepting  even  a  drink  of  water 

(1)  Yaqut,  Irshcul,  II,  144.  (2)  Kit.  al-uyun  Wal-hadaig.,  Berlin,  fol. 
125  b.  (3)  Baihaqi,  ed,  Schwally,  620.  (4)  Fihrist,  51.  (5)  Wistenfeld 
AGGW,  37Nr92.  (6)  Abulfida,  Annale*,  year  339.  (7)  Subki,  II,  168 
(8)  Snbki,  III,  66.  (9)  Subki,  II,  222, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  187 

from  any  one'.  Another  Cairene  savant  (d.  494/1,101) 
maintained  himself  by  selling  robes  of  state  to  the  aristoc- 
racy~.  But  Mutarriz  (d.  345/956),  the  greatest  philologer 
of  his  age,  endured  life-long  privations;  for  occupation 
with  learning  hindered  him  from  earning  a  livelihood*. 
And  the  celebrated  philologer  Ibn  Faris  (d.  369/979) 
speaks  of  the  dirham  as  the  best  physician  for  his  malady 
and  wishes  that  he  had  1,000  dinars  that  the  block- 
heads might  serve  him*. 

At  the  end  of  this  period  the  Muslim  savant  becomes 
eligible  for  privy  councillorship.  The  young  Isfaraini 
(d.  418/1,027)  was  the  first  of  his  guild  in  Nisapur  to  receive 
a  title — the  title  of  Eukn-ud-din  (pillar  of  religion)5. 
Then  also  came  into  view,  yet  only  as  a  mark  of  honour, 
the  later  important  title  of  the  Shaikli-ul>-I$lain.  Both 
the  Asharites  and  the  Persian  conservatives  conferred  that 
title  upon  their  chief  theologian0. 

Nor  were  comic  pictures  of  the  professors  wanting. 
The  grammarian  Tha'lab  and  Al-Mubarrad  used  so  to 
take  each  other  off,  that  the  audience,  enthralled  and 
spell-bound  hastened  from  the  lecture  of  one  to  that  of  the 
other7.  Another  once  boasted  :  I  have  never  forgotten 
anything  and  continued  :  Slave,  hand  me  my  shoes. 
Lo  !  rejoined  the  slave  :  You  have  them  on8. 

The  famous  philologer  Ibn  Khaluyah  was  learned  but 
coarse.  Once  at  a  social  gathering  at  the  palace  of  the 
Amir  Saif-ad-Dawlah  he  struck  the  poet  Mutannabbi  with 
his  keys  in  the  face  and  caused  him  to  bleed''. 

And  Naftawaihi  was  as  famous  for  his  learning  as  he 
was  notorious  for  filth  and  bad  odour. 

The  strain  caused  by  his  work  affected  the  mind  of  the 
lexicographer  Jauhari  (died  about  390/1,000).  After  he 
had  dictated  his  dictionary  up  to  the  letter  DAD  he  went 
tip  to  the  roof  of  the  old  mosque  at  Nisapur  and  caJled 
out  :  Ye  people!  I  have  accomplished  something  this 

(I)  Subki,  II,  102.  (2),  Subki,  III,  297.  (3)  Abulfida,  Annales, 
year  345.  (4)  Yaqnt,  Irshad,  II,  9.  (5)  AGGW,  37,  Nr.  316. 
Already  a  savant  (d.  356/966),  who  was  held  in  great  esteem  at  the 
court  of  Bokhara,  ranked  higher  than  the  Wazir  and  was  addressed  aa 
the  great  master  (Shaikh  Jalil).  -  Subki,  II,  86.  (6)  Snbki,  III,  47. 
117.  (7)  Irshad,  II,  149,  (8)  Irxhad,  VI.  909.  (9)  Ibn  Khallikan 
Wustenfeld's  ed.  I,  65. 


] 88  THE  ItENAlSSANOE  OF  ISLAM 

side  of  the  grave  such  as  no  man  has  accomplished  before. 
Now  I  will  achieve  something  for  the  other  side  of  the 
grave  such  as  no  man  has  hitherto  achieved.  He  tied 
two  door-leaves  with  a  piece  of  string  under  his  arms, 
mounted  to  the  highest  point  in  the  mosque  and  tried  to 
Hy.  He  fell  to  the  ground  and  died7. 


[1]     Yaqnt,  Irshad  II,  269. 


XIIL— THEOLOGY 

IN  the  4th/10th  century  Muslim  theology  passed  through 
its  greatest  epoch ;  namely,  its  emancipation  from  juris- 
prudence whose  hand-maid  it  had  hitherto  been.  Even 
in  the  3rd/9th  century  all  theological  works  of  note  bear 
juristic  impress.  This  change  must  be  set  down  to  the 
credit  of  the  Mutazilites.  Throughout  the  3rd/9th  century 
they  propounded  purely  theological  questions  and,  now, 
they  challenged  their  opponents  to  reply.  They  were 
the  first  Muslim  party  which  was  free  from  all  juristic 
leanings.  And  even  in  the  4th/10th  century — of  the  five 
greatest  groups  in  which  Islam  was  then  divided,  namely ; 
Sunnah,  Mutazilah,  Murjiah,  Shiah  and  Kharijites — they 
were  the  only  party  of  pure  dogmatism  (KalarniyyahV. 
They  conceded  complete  liberty  with  regard  to  particular 
rules  of  law  (Furu)  and  taught  that  every  jurist  was  free 
to  follow  his  own  lines~.  Thus  there  were  Mutazilites  in 
every  shade  of  juristic  school,  even  among  the  Tradition- 
ists,  (Asliah  el-hadith)  whom  people  are  inclined  to  regard 
as  born  enemies  of  the  Scholastics. 

The  Sufis  again  were  avowed  opponents  of  all  juristic 
schools  (Urn  ed-dunya).  Makki  (d.386/996)  applied  to  it 
(ilni  ed-dumja)  an  alleged  saying  of  Christ  :  The  base 
savants  are  not  unlike  a  stone  on  the  mouth  of  a  canal. 
They  would  neither  themselves  drink  the  water  nor  would 
they  let  it  fertilise  a  field.  Such  are  the  wordly-wise 
savants'7!  They  sit  upon  the  road  leading  to  the  next  world. 
They  neither  move  on  themselves  nor  yet  do  they  let  the 
servants  of  God  move  on  to  Him.  Or,  again,  they  are  not 
unlike  wrhite  washed  graves,  externally  well-cared  for  but 
within  replete  with  the  bones  of  the  dead*. 

[if  Muk,  37. 

[1]  Muk,  38;  Ahmad  Ibn  Yahya,  63 

[3]  Muk,  439. 

[4]  Makki    141. 


190          THE    HENAIK8ANOE  OF  ISLAM 

And  the  Sufis  won  the  day.  In  the  following  century 
Grhazzali — the  pioneer  of  the  later  Muslim  orthodoxy — 
declared  jurisprudence  to  be  something  worldly  and 
MI  theological*.  In  fact  we  notice  among  the  Sufiis  a 
tendency  to  penalise  all  sciences.  Ibn  Khafif  (d.  371/981) 
had  to  conceal  his  ink-pot  in  his  breast-pocket  and  paper 
in  his  waist-belt  for  fear  of  the  brethren'. 

Once  again  they  opposed  the  Gnosis,  the  inner  under- 
standing, to  knowledge,  the  theology.  "  0,  Wonder  !  how 
is  he,  who  knoweth  not  how  the  hair  of  his  body  grows 
black  or  white,  to  kno\v  the  creator  of  things  ? "  Thus 
Hallaj  (d.302/914)  ridicules  learning  ! '  Elsewhere  lie  tells 
us  :  I  saw  a  Sufi  bird  with  two  wings.  He  did  not  under- 
stand my  business  so  long  as  he  flew.  And  he  questioned 
me  about  purity  (Safa,  and  J  replied  :  Clip  thy  wings  off 
by  the  scissors  of  self-annihilation,  or  else  thou  wilt  not 
be  able  to  follow  me.  But  he  rejoined  :  My  wings  I  need 
to  fly.  One  day  he  foil  into  the  sea  of  understanding  and 
was  drowned''.  On  the  other  hand  others,  like  Junaid 
(d.  289/^OU,  have  expressly  placed  Theology  ('ilm)  above 
Giuwix  (MiCrifalif.  As  a  matter  of  fact  the  list,  for  in- 
stance, of  the  Shafiite  savants  exhibits  a  number  of  Sufis. 
The  Sufiite  Theology  is  by  far  the  most  important  and 
successful  as  being  the  movement  in  the  learning  <,f  that 
time  which  harbours  the  strongest  religious  forces.  It 
imported  into  and  impressed  upon  Islam  three  special 
features  of  its  own  which,  even  today,  constitute  by  far 
the  most  impoitant  and  effective  features  of  its  religious 
life.  They  are  :  A  firm  faith  in  God,  tho  order  of  Saints, 
and  the  Prophet 'e  cult. 

The  study  of  the  Quran  and  Tradition,  enjoined  as  a 
religious  duty  upon  every  blieviiig  Muslim,  male  and 
female6,  increased  more  and  more,  but  the  4th/10th  cen- 
tury inaugrated  the  modern  practice  of  permitting  the 
transmission  of  traditions,  independently  of  personal  inter- 
course, even  without  a  special  permission  from  the  teacher7. 
The  result  was  that  in  the  place  of  the  old-fashioned  travell- 
ing, the  individual  traditionists  took  to  the  study  of  books. 

[1]  Goldziher,  Zahiriteu.  182.  [2]  Amedroz.,  Notes  on  Same  Sufi 
Lives,  JBAS,  1912,  551  [3]  Kit.  ct-taivasin,  ed  Massignon,  73.  [4] 
Kit.  ct-tawasin,  30.  [5]  Ibid,  195.  [6]  Samarqandi  Bmtan  al-arifin, 
Cairo,  [1304,]  p.  3.  [7]  Goldziher,  Muh.  Studien  II,  190  ff.  Nawawi 
o>A»itic:i3  some  savants  who  considered  written  transmission  as  valid. 
.&?en  the  canonical  collections  themselves  called  many  instances  of  this 
mode  of  transmission  into  being.  JA  [1901]  p.  226. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  191 

Thus  Ibn  Yurms  es-Sadafi  (d.  347/9^8)  could  become  the 
head  of  the  traditionists  in  Egypt  without  travelling  or 
hearing  any  one  outside  Egypt'. 

Yet  it  was  some  time  before  the  savant,  in  search  of 
traditions,  was  less  frequently  to  be  found  wandering  in 
the  streets  or  putting  up  at  inns  than  the  merchant  or 
official.  In  395/1005  died  Ibn  Mandah,  'the  last  of  the 
travellers ',  that  is  to  say,  the  most  famous  of  those  who 
travelled  about  the  empire  to  hear  traditions.  He  collect- 
ed 1700  traditions  and  brought  home  40  camel  loads  of 
books'.  Abu  Hatim  of  Samarqand  heard  about  a  thou- 
sand teachers  from  Tashkend  to  Alexandria3  ;  an  Afghan 
savant  heard  over  1200*.  And  yet  Ghazzali — the  most 
outstanding  figure  in  ihe  theological  world — undertook 
very  few  journeys  for  purposes  of  study.  Outside  his 
home,  Tus  he  lieard  lectures  in  the  North,  in  Jurjan, 
and  studied  later  at  Nisapur,  the  great  university  town  of 
his  country.  That  was  all.  How  conflicting  in  the 
4th/ 10th  century  were  views  regarding  the  subject  of  travel 
is  manifest  from  the  Bustan  al-'Arifin  (p.  18  ff)  of  Samar- 
qandi  !  And  significant,  too,  is  the  fact  that  Naibakhti 
calls  the  well-known  Abul  Faraj  al-Isfahani  (d.  356/967), 
author  of  the  Kitab  al-Acjliaiii^  from  whom  even  the  re- 
nowned Daraqutni  heard  traditions,  'the  greatest  lia.r' 
because  he  used  to  frequent  the  market  of  the  book-dealers, 
lively  and  stocked  with  books,  purchase  a  heap  of  manus- 
cripts there,  bring  them  home  and  make  extracts  there- 
from'1. 

The  traditionists,  however,  were  considered  the  most 
prominent  of  learned  men  and  were,  in  fact,  most  influ- 
ential in  the  empire.  Historians  faithfully  note  their 
deaths  and  hand  down  strange  stories  of  their  feats  of 
memory.  Abdullah  Ibn  Sulairnan  (d.  316/928)  went  from 
Baghdad  to  Sijistan.  At  Baghdad  he  was  so  profoundly 
esteemed  that  he  lectured  at  the  residence  of  the  wazir 
*Ali  Ibn  Isa  and  the  Government  erected  a  pulpit  for  him. 
He  did  not  take  with  him  a  single  book  to  Sijistan.  From 
memory  he  dictated  30,000  traditions.  The  Baghdadians 
thought  that  he  was  playing  the  fool  with  the  people  and 
sent  a  messenger  there  whom  they  engaged  for  six  dinars. 
He  took  notes,  returned  home,  and  it  transpired  that  only 

[1]  Snynti,  Ilmnul  Muh-ihera,  1,  164. 

[2]  Zarqani,  1,230  ;    Goldziher,  Mnh.  Studien,  II,  180. 

[3]  Subki,  Tabaqat,    II,   14. 

[4]  Subki,  III,    114. 

[5]  Tarikh  Baghdad,  ed  Krenkow,  JRAS,  1912,  p.  71. 


102  i*HE  RENAISSANCE  Of   ISLAM 

six  traditions   of  the  lot  could    be  at  all  taken  exception  to 
and  of  these  six  only  three  were  found  spurious'. 

Ibn  Uqwah  (d.  3312/043)  boasted  of  carrying  52,000 
traditions  with  their  respective  authorities  in  his  head~. 
The  Qadi  of  Mosul  who  died  in  #55/966  is  said  to  have 
known  20,000  traditions  by  heart'.  And  in  401/1010  died  a 
savant  in  Egypt  who  possessed  a  long  roll  of  87  yards, 
on  both  sides  of  which  were  written  the  beginnings  of 
Traditions  known  to  him*. 

Theologians  recall  with  pride  a  story  of  the  poet  Hanm- 
dani  (d.  398/1007)  who  fancied  himself  because  he  could 
repeat  a  hundred  verses  on  hearing  them  once.  He  used 
to  speak  slightingly  of  the  respect  shown  by  the  people 
to  the  memorising  of  traditions.  Someone  sent  him  a 
chapter  of  tradition  and  gave  him  a  week's  time  to  commit 
it  to  memory.  At  the  end  of  the  week  the  poet  returned 
the  document  with  the  observation  :  Who  can  retain  this 
in  memory  ?  Mohamed,  son  of  X  and  Jafar,  son  of  X, 
after  X  and  then  various  names  and  expressions5. 

With  what  speed  tradition  was  taught  may  be  inferred 
from  the  fact  that  the  Khatib  heard  the  entire  QaJrih  of 
Bukhari  in  five  days  and  that  from  a  lady*7.  The  two 
greatest  traditionists  of  this  century  are  Abul  Hasan 
4  AH  al-I)araqutni  (d  385/995)  and  Al-Hakim  of  Nisapur 
(d.  405/1014).  In  the  following  century  their -mantle  fell 
upon  the  Khatib  al-Baghdadi  (d.  403/1012). 

Their  work  was  cut  out  for  them  by  the  collection  of 
traditions  which  had  been  finished  in  the  3rd/9th  century 
with  their  divisions  and  contractions.  And  they  fulfilled 
their  task  either  by  fresh  collections  as  did  Daraqutni  by 
composing  a  Book  of  Sunn  ah  and  helping  the  Egyptian 
Wazir  Jafar  ibn  el-Fadl,  who  had  theological  ambitions, 
to  prepare  a  Mu-snad  for  a  handsome  sum7:  or  by  composing 
Istidrak  and  Mustadrak  (supplements)  such  as  those  of 
Daraqutni  or  of  Hakim — both  being  of  opinion  that  a  great 
deal  of  good  material  had  escaped  the  earlier  writers8. 
Or  yet  again  by  collecting  parallel  reports,  according  to 

(1)  Ibn  alJauzi,  fol.  36  a ;  Subki,  II,  230.  (2)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol. 
726.  (3)  Godziher,  Mnh.  Sttidien,  II,  200.  (4)  Sukkardan  margin 
of  Mikhlat,  185.  [5]  Subki,  III  661.  [6]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,247.  He 
heard  traditions  from  the  famous  Karunah  of  Merv  whom  also  Ibn 
Baskuwah  [1,133]  has  mentioned.  [7]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  408.  The 
pupils  of  Muslim  have  specially  composed  fresh  Sahihs;  e.g.  Abu  Hamid 
[d.  325]  and  Abu  Sa'id  [d.  353].  Subki^  Tabaqat,  II,  97,  f.  [8]  Goldziher, 
Mull  Studien,  II,  241.  Daraqutni's  successors  are  mentioned  in 
NaWawi  1,  17. 


RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  193 

other  authorities  (Mukhraj  or  Mustakhraj)  as  was   done  by 
almost  every  reliable  traditionist  of   the   4th/10th   century. 

In  this  century  a  special  literature  arose  on  doubtful 
readings  (Tashifat) :  both  Daraqutni  and  the  Khatib  wrote 
on  the  subject7. 

From  the  very  beginning  criticism  of  traditions  con- 
cerned itself  with  individual  authorities  (Marifat-rejal 
el-haditJi),  with  the  ascertaining  of  their  names  and  the 
determination  of  their  position  as  reliable  (thiqat)  or  weak 
(du'afa)  traditionists.  Nor  was  the  consideration  of  the 
qualities  required  in  a  perfect  traditionist  lost  sight  of. 
Yahya  ibn  at-Khattan  (d.  198/914)  is  said  to  have  composed 
the  first  book  of  this  kind3.  After  the  comparison  of 
classical  text  they  proceeded  to  scrutinize  the  authorities 
therein  and  wrote  books  on  the  traditionists  mentioned  in 
the  two  Sahihs.  The  demand  for  an  uninterrupted  chain 
of  traditionists'  led  on  from  the  biography  and  critical 
estimate  of  the  individual  traditionist  to  a  general  history 
of  these  witnesses.  Thus  arose  the  chronicles  of  the 
3rd/9th  century,  such  as  those  of  Bukhari  (d.  256/870) ;  the 
great  Tabaqat  of  Ibn  Sa'd  (d.  230/845),  arranged  according 
to  time  and  place ;  and  the  so-called  c  Histories  of  the 
Towns  '  in  the  3rd/9th  and  the  4th/10th  centuries  which 
reached  their  summit  of  excellence  in  the  History  of 
Nisapur  by  Al-Hakim  (d.  406/1015) — he  is  said  to  be  more 
exhaustive  111  biographical  details  than  even  the  Khatib — , 
in  the  Tarikh  of  Italian  by  Abu  Nu'aim(d.  430/1039). 

The  works  of  the  Khatib  '  On  the  cases  of  fathers  who 
obtained  tradition  from  sons'  and  f  The  Companions 
of  the  Prophet  who  handed  down  traditons  to  the  generation 
following  them  \  show  the  subtle  critical  technic  which  had 
then  come  into  being''.  This  biographical  knowledge, 
then,  enjoyed  the  highest  esteem.  The  Qadi  Abu  Hamid 
of  Marv  (d.  362/972) — renowned  as  a  teacher  of  the  great 
Abu  Hayyan  at-  Tauhidi— considered  biographical  litera- 
ture as'an  ocean  of  decisions  and  an  equipment  of  Qadis  '. 
He  maintained  that  the  acuteness  of  jurists  depended  upon 
the  extent  of  their  biographical  studies5. 

Most  admired  in  the  Khatib  was  his  keenness  in  detect- 
ing genuineness  or  otherwise  of  a  document  by  the  ana- 
chronism of  the  subscription*7. 

(1)  Goldziher,  II,  241.  (2j  Marcais,  Taqrib  of  Nawawi,  JA,  1900, 
16  p.  321.  (3)  This  question  is  said  to  have  been  first  raised  by 
Shafi-i  (d.  204).  (Ibn  Abd  el-Barr  (d.  463);  see  Marcais,  Taqrib,  JA 
1900,  16,  p.  321.  (4)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,248.  (5)  Siibki,  II,  83,  tf) 
Irshad,  1,249. 


194  TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  4th/10th  century  Karabizi  (d.  378/988)  wrote 
the  work  on  the  names  and  surnames  of  traditionists  which, 
by  common  consent,  has  been  set  down  as  the  most  author- 
itative for  all  times'. 

In  earlier  times  historical  studies  were  held  in  such  bad 
odour  among  theologians  that  Ibn  Ishaq  'd.  151/767)  is 
said  to  have  made  fun  of  a  historical  student  by  asking  him 
"  who  was  the  actual  standard-bearer  of  Goliath  "".  But, 
now,  at  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century  /ingi 
mentions  as  lectures  on  'traditions'  only  historical  sub- 
jects such  as  the  History  of  the  Mubayyidah,  the  death  of 
Hajar  ibn  Adi,  the  Shiite  leader,  the  Book  of  the  Battle 
of  Biffin  and  the  Booh  of  the  Battle  oj  the  Camel'.  But 
later  the  wind  veered  once  again.  Nawawi  reproaches  Ibn 
Abd-el-Barr  (d.  463/1071)  for  injuring  his  book  by  incor- 
porating historical  information  therein*. 

The  theory  of  the  criticism  of  tradition  also  was  elab- 
orated in  the  4th/10th  century.  Ibn  Abi  Hatim  al-llazi 
(d.  327/239)  has  constructed  a  whole  ladder  of  epithets 
for  tho  transmitters  :  (Thiqah,  trustworthy  ;  Mutqin, 
exact  ;  Thabt,  Solid  ;  HujjaJi,  Authority  ;  Adl-liajiz,  Good 
memory  ;  Dhahit  Sure  ;  Sadiq,  veracious  ;  Mahallu-hiteis- 
idq,  inclining  to  veracity  ;  La  ba's  bihi,  harmless)5. 

Khattabi  (d.  388/998)  is  said  to  have  been  the  first 
to  fix  the  three  main  classes  of  traditions :  Perfect  (Sahib), 
Good  (Hasan)  and  Weak  (Dtiif).  Daraqutni  (d.  385/995) 
defined  the  *  t&liq  '  and  Hakini  (d.  405/1015)  placed,  once 
and  for  all,  the  science  of  tradition  (Uml  el-hadith)  on  an 
independent  basis,  on  such  a  scale  and  thoroughness,  that 
it  retains  its  position  even  today.  Here  the  later  centuries 
did  nothing  more  than  add  matters  of  secondary  import- 
ance. 

Even  the  external  form  of  treatment — that  is,  the 
division  into  a  number  of  Kinva  (sections) — they  accepted 
and  retained  as  in  the  days  of  Al-Hakimc.  From  him 
too,  dates  the  practice  of  the  scribes  to  place  a  dot  in  the 
middle  of  the  circle,  indicating  thereby  the  termination  of  a 
tradition  after  collation7.  (This  means  that  the  scribes 
used  to  indicate  the  end  of  a  tradition  by  putting  a  sign 

(1)  Marcais  Taqrih  of  Nawawi,  JA  (1901),  18,  135.  (2)  Goldziher, 
Mnh.  Stmlicn,  TI,  207.  [3]  Wiia,  202.  [4]  Taqrib,  JA  [1901], 
18  p.  123.  (5)  Nawawi,  Taqrib,  JA  [1901],  17  p.  146  ;  Gokhsiher, 
Muli.  MwJien,  II,  142.  [6]  Nawawi,  JA  [1900],  16  p.  330  Sqq.  Ibn 
Hibban  (d.  354)  had  already  divided  these  into  Anwa  p.  487  note  (l). 
(7)  Nawawi,  JA  (1901),  17,  p.  528. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  195 

thus  :  0.  After    collation   the   circle   was  supplied   with  a 
point  within  :0). 

The  Quran-readers  play  the  second  role  in  the  theolo- 
gical world.  Mukaddasi  never  fails  to  mention  the  school 
of  reading  obtaining  in  every  province,  but  for  the  '  readers  ' 
themselves  he  entertains  no  regard  or  affection.  He  notes 
greed,  pederasty,  and  hypocrisy  as  their  chief  traits' .  Even 
this  branch  of  learning  was  divided  up  by  Ibn  Mujahid 
about  the  year  300/912". 

On  or  about  this  time  there  were  fierce  disputes  on  the 
question  of  the  true  text  of  the  Quran.  Government  even 
took  to  persecution  ;  for  Ibn  Shanabud  (d.  328/939)  was 
scourged  under  orders  of  the  wazir  Ibn  Muqlah  and  had 
to  recant  six  different  variants  in  the  reading  of  the  Quran 
in  the  following  manner.  "  Mohamed  ibn  Ahmed  ibn 
Ayyub  says  :  I  had  read  texts  differing  from  the  text 
going  back  to  Othman  and  approved  by  the  companions 
of  the  Prophet.  I  see  clearly  now  that  they  were  wrong. 
I  atone  for  my  mistake  and  renounce  my  opinion,  for  the 
text  of  Othman  is  the  right  text  which  no  one  should  reject 
or  call  into  question*'.  " 

And  yet  he  left  behind  pupils,  of  whom,  one  Shanabudi 
is  mentioned  as  a  famous  '  reader  ',  who  died  as  la.te  as 
387/997''.  His  variants  and  those  of  the  others  have  come 
down  to  us.  They  are  perfectly  harmless.  But  here, 
they  took  every  thing  all— too  seriously,  for  the  doctrine 
of  the  world  of  God  left  them  no  option  in  the  matter.  The 
theologian  Al-£Attar  (d.  354/965)  defended,  in  an  exeget- 
ical  work,  some  of  the  readings  differing  from  the  official 
redaction  and  stood  firmly  by  the  text  without  vowel- 
points  urging  that  in  classical  Arabic  any  punctuation 
which  yielded  a  sense  was  permissible.  He  was  reported 
to  Government  and  was  asked  to  appear  before  Jurists  and 
u  readers "  and  make  atonement.  His  recantation  was 
put  into  writting  and  was  countersigned  by  all.  Despite 
all  this — to  the  end  of  his  days  it  is  said  he  clung  to  his 
own  private  reading  and  passed  it  on  to  his  pupils5. 

In  398/1008  once  again  there  emerged  into  light  a 
Quran  which  differed  from  the  official  redaction  and  which 


(1)  Muk,  41.  (2)  Died  334/945.  He  had  a  thick  beard  and  a 
large  skull.  He  read  the  Quran,  so  the  people  believed,  even  in  his 
grave.  Jauzi,  Muntazam,  fol.  56  a.  (3)  Suli,  Auraq.  Paris,  fol.  52  ; 
Fihrisf,  31  ;  IrsJiad,  vi,  300  ff  ;  Noldeke,  Gesch.d.Korans,  274.  (4) 
Suyuti,  de  interpretibus  Corani,  37  ;  Misk,  v,  447  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi  fol.  54 
p.  (5)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol  98  a  ;  Irshad,  vi,  499, 


196  THE  RENAISSANCE  Oil  ISLAM 

was  stated  to  be  the  copy  of  the  famous  dissenter  Ibn- 
Masud.  It  was  burnt  by  the  Qadi.  About  midnight  a 
man  appeared  and  cursed  the  man  \vho  had  burned  it. 
He  was  killed  on  the  spot'. 

Not  unlike  the  four  schools  of  jurisprudence  the  seven 
canonical  schools  of  reading  supplanted  in  the  4th/10th 
century  most  of  the  differing  readings2  ;  even  the  arbitrary 
selection  of  eight  schools  of  readings  is  the  work  of  this 
century.  (Noldeke,  Geschichte  des  JKora?/s,  299).  An 
Egyptian  theologian  who  died  in  333  A.H.  wrote  on  the 
differences  in  the  seven  schools  of  reading.  (Suyuti, 
Huwnl  Muhadhera,  1,332,9,34).  Another  Egyptian  who 
died  401  on  the  eight. 

It  was  not  at  all  a  recognized  practice  in  the  4th/10th 
century  to  explain  the  Quran.  Tabari  relates  that  in  old 
days  a  pious  man,  passing  by  a  place  where  the  Quran 
was  being  explained,  called  out  to  the  teacher  :  c  Better 
would  it  be  for  thec  to  have  the  tarnburin  played  at  thy 
back  than  to  sit  here1'*,  and,  according  to  Samarqandi, 
Omar,  seeing  a  Quran  with  a  man,  where  every  verse  was 
explained,  asked  for  a  pair  of  scissors  and  cut  it  into  pieces''. 
Out  of  pious  scruples  the  philologer  Asma'i  is  said  never 
to  have  explained  anything  in  the  Quran  or  the  tradition ; 
not  even  such  words  and  phrases,  analogies  and  etymologies 
as  were  common  to  them  both5. 

Tabari,  however,  manages  to  cite  instances  of  the 
'Companions  of  the  Prophet ' — and  preeminently  of  Ibn 
Abbas6 — who  busied  themselves  with  the  exposition  of  the 
Quran  ;  but  his  'polemics9  (p.  26  sqq)  show  that  the  party 
which  absolutely  repudiated  it  was  very  strong.  At  last 
a  saying  of  the  Prophet  was  cited  to  effect  a  compromise  : 
"  however  interprets  the  Quran  according  to  his  own  light 
will  go  to  hell  ".  Every  interpretation  of  the  Quran  had, 
therefore,  to  be  ultimately  traced  back  to  the  Prophet — 
no  private  judgment  being  permitted7.  Only  linguistic 
explanations  were  allowed  (p.  27). 

But,  in  spite  of  this  limitation  in  the  interpretation  of 
the  Quran  much  could  be  dexterously  said  which  really 
had  no  place  there.  Tabari's  own  commentary,  which 


(1)  Suyuti,  dc  interprttibus  Corani,  37  ;  Misk,  v,  447  ;  Ibn  al-Jausi, 
fol.  98  a  ;  Irtkad,  vi,  499.  (2)  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  152  b,  Subki,  Tabaqat, 
III,  26.  (3)  Noldeke,  Ge&ch.  des  Korans.  278  ;  Fihrist.  31  ;  Samar- 
qandi, 73.  (4)  Tafsir,  30.  (5)  Button  al-arifin,  74  ff.  (6)  Suyuti, 
II,  207  ;  Goldziher,  SWA,  vol  72,  p.  630.  (7)  Tafsir  1,  26, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  197 

is  praised  for  its  felicitous  union  of  tradition  and    judgment, 
shows  this7. 

The  otherwise  extremely  liberal  Samarqandi  has  ex- 
pressed a  definite  opinion  disallowing,  though  a  Hanafite, 
every  scientific  explanation.  In  the  interpretation  of  the 
Quran,  according  to  him,  at  most  it  is  permissible  to  em- 
ploy elucidatory  traditions  :  i.e.,  to  adopt  the  form  in  which 
the  Chapter  headed  "  Interpretation  of  the  Quran "  in 
Bukhari  and  Muslim  is  composed,  and  which  was  practised 
by  the  second  class  of  exegetes  discussed  by  Suyuti,  (de. 
inter  Korani,  Text  p.  2.)- 

The  new  element  in  the  interpretation  of  the  Quran 
in  this  and  the  preceding  century  was  the  very  enthusiastic 
and  independent  co-operation  of  the  Mutazilites.  Of  their 
leader  Al-Jubbai,  his  son-in-law  Ashari,  at  once  his 
pupil  and  his  opponent,  complains  that  not  once  in  his 
commentary  has  he  referred  to  an  older  commentary  but 
has  solely  relied  upon  the  promptings  of  his  heart  and  those 
of  his  demon18.  But,  again,  the  orthodox  refused  to  follow 
the  lead  of  this  very  Ashari  because  they  persisted  in  literal 
interpretation  of  "doubtful"  passages'"'.  The  Mutazilito 
philologer  Ali  Ibn  Isa  el-Kummani  (d.  385/995)  wrote  a 
commentary  on  the  Quran.  Sahib  ibn  Abbad  (d,  385/995) 
on  being  questioned,  if  he,  too,  had  written  one,  replied : 
'  Ali  ibn  fsa  had  left  nothing  for  him  to  do"'. 

The  Mutazilite  Nakkas5  who  died  at  Baghdad  in 
351/962  and  who  '  lied  in  tradition '  composed  a  comment 
tary  of  12,000  leaves.  Abu  Bal<r  of  Edfu  (d.  388/998)" 
wrote  one  in  120  volumes.  In  the  following  century,  how- 
ever, he  was  outstripped  by  the  Mutazilite  Abdus-Salam 
al-Qazwini  (d.  483/1090)  who  commented  upon  the  Quran 
in  300  volumes  of  which  seven  dealt  only  with  the  sura 
Fatelia  7.  We  obtain  an  idea  of  the  method  of  this  school 
from  the  fact  that  the  Mutazilite  Ubaidullah  al-Azdi 
(d.  387/997)  collected  together  120  different  view*  concern- 
ing the  meaning  of c  in  the  name  of  God  the  merciful  and 
compassionate8.  Hitherto  no  Muslim  sect  had  disregarded 
the  Quran.  For  all  it  was  the  central  armoury 

[1]  For  instance,  vol.  I,  58  'on  Predestination.1  [2]  Spitta,  el*  Ashari, 
128.  [3]  Qoldziher,  ZDMG,  41,  p.  59.  According  to  Ibn  Khaldun, 
Hist.  Berb.  1,299.  [4]  Ahmed  ibn  Yahya,  ed.  Arnold,  65  ;  Suyuti, 
Mufasserin,  30.  [5]  Fihrist,  33  ;  Yaqut,  vi  496.  [6]  Suyuti,  Husnul 
Mnhadherah,  1,233.  [7]  Suyuti,  de  interp.  Corani,  19  ;  Subki  (Tabaqat 
III,  230)  speaks  of  700  volumes.  [8]  Suyuti,  de  interp.  Corani,  22. 
In  Mutazalite  exegesis  its  enemy  Ibn  Kntaibah  can  only  cavil  at  trifles, 
(Uukhtalif,  el-hadith,  80  ff.), 


198          THE    RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

to  draw  weapons  from  for  warfare  and,  thus,  like  all  holy 
books,  it  had  to  suffer  from  a  great  deal  of  exegetic  subtlety. 
The  Sufis  and  Shiahs,  notorious  as  Aid  tcC  wilat,  freely 
used  the  tried  method  of  allegory/  Everywhere  the  Shiites 
detected  personal  allusions:  By  the  "Cow"  which  God 
ordered  the  Jews  to  sacrifice,  Ayesha  was  meant'  and  the 
Gods  Jibt  and  Taguti?  were  none  else  than  Muawiya  and 
Amr  ibn  al-As''. 

The  scientifically-trained  like  Abu  Zaid  al-Balkhi 
(d.  322-034),  who  had  studied  philosophy,  astronomy,  medi- 
cine, natural  sciences  under  Al-Kindi  at  Baghdad  stood  in 
the  opposite  camp.  In  his  letters  on  the  Nazni  el-Quran 
(composition  of  the  Quran)  he  takes  the  words  in  their 
literal  sense5.  In  his  enquiry  into  the  allegories  he  arrived 
at  such  negative  conclusions  that  a  highly-placed  Karma- 
thian  withdrew  the  pension  he  had  hitherto  paid  him6. 

Even  philology  had  become  so  exacting  then  as  to  set 
up  a  special  ecclesiastical  vocabulary  different  from  the 
common  usage7.  And  the  entire  school  of  the  Zaliiriten 
emphasised  the  literal  interpretation  of  Law  and  preemi- 
nently of  the  Quran,  as  their  main  principle.  But  for 
obvious  reasons  none  of  them  embarked  upon  a  comment- 
ary of  the  Quran.  The  literal  interpretation  of  the  Quran 
had  as  little  attraction  for  Muslims  then  as  it  has  today. 

Arab,  Jewish  and  Christian  legends  of  the  Quran  and 
the  tradition  were  indeed  a  notable  field  of  fierce  contro- 
versy*. There  theology  was  confronted  with  miracles — 
recognizing  only  the  Pre-Islamic  Prophet*  as  real  miracle- 
workers.  And  so  it  is  that  the  most  conspicuous  Quranic 
scholar  of  his  time  Ahmad  eth-Tha'labi  (d.  427/1036) 
composes  as  his  most  important  work  his  'Histories  of  the 
Prophet*1". 

To  some  miracles  were  the  most  cherished  possessions 
of  their  faith.  They  would  much  rather  have  the  history 
of  the  camel  that  flew  than  of  the  camel  that  walked  or 
much  sooner  hear  of  a  false  vision  than  of  an  established 
fact7'. 


(1)  Goldziher,  JZahiritcn,  132.  (2)  Sura,  2,63.  (3)  Sura,  4,54.  (4) 
Ibn  Kufcaiba,  MuMitalif  el-hadith,  84.  (5)  Irshad,  1,  148.  The  book 
is  not  mentioned  in  the  Fihrist.  (6)  Fihrist,  138.  (7)  Goldziher, 
Zaliiritcn  134.  (8)  Suyuti,  Mufassarin.  (9)  Already  Abu  Rajah  (d. 
335/946)  composed  a  poem  of  30,000  verses  on  the  'History  of  the 
world  and  of  the  Proph't*:  Abul  Mahasin,  II,  319  ;  Suhki  II,  108 
(10)  Sura,  84,  V.  2. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  199 

Whereas  others  rejected  them  a  priori  and  yet  others 
transformed  them  into  amazing  allegories. 

The  famous  physician  Al-Kazi  about  300/912  wrote 
on  the  other  hand  a  book  on  the  "  Impostures  of  Proph- 
ets". Mutahhar  dose  not  even  once  dare  to  refer  to  its 
contents  for  it  corrupts,  says  he,  the  heart,  weans  it  from 
piety  and  fosters  hatred  towards  the  Prophets '. 

The  conjunction  of  the  Quran  and  reason  yielded 
precisely  the  same  amusing  result  as  we  find  in  the  exegesis 
of  the  Piotestant  nationalism. 

We  must,  for  God's  sake,  even  deny  that  in  the  'Flood' 
innocent  children  were  drowned.  It  was  suggested  that 
for  15  years  before  the  '  Flood'  God  had  sealed  the  womb 
of  every  woman  so  that  the  evil  fate  might  only  overtake 
the  guilty.  Another  looked  upon  the  Ark  of  Noah  merely 
as  a  symbol  of  his  religion  and  the  950  years  of  life,  which 
the  Quran  credits  him  with,  as  the  duration  of  his  preaching. 
Another  contended  that  the  wonderful  She-Camel  which 
came  out  of  a  mountain  to  the  Prophet  Saleh  was  merely 
a  symbol  of  a  specially  compelling  proof.  A  third  shrewdly 
hinted  that  the  Prophet  had  concealed  the  camel  in  the 
mountain  and  simply  fetched  her  out.  A  fourth  made  a 
yet  more  lively  suggestion;  namely,  that  the  camel  stood 
for  a  man  and  a  woman'.  Others  maintained  that 
Abraham  who,  according  to  the  Quran,  remained  un- 
scathed in  a  burning  oven,  had  smeared  himself  with  a 
fire-proof  oil  and  referred  to  similar  tricks  among  the 
Indians''.  Of  the  birds  Ababil,  which  drove  the  advancing 
Abyssinians  back  with  stones  from  Mekka — a  wide* 
spread  explanation  was  that  they  perished  by  reason  of  the 
fruit,  water  and  climate  of  Yaman*.  The  'spring  of 
melted  metal'  which  God  caused  to  flow  for  Solomon5 
was  explained  away  as  Solomon's  mining  activity.  The 
famous  hoopoo  which  Solomon  missed  at  the  review^  was* 
put  down  as  the  name  of  a  man,  the  talking  ants7  as  timid, 
the  demons  as  proud,  powerful,  crafty  men  who  acknow- 
ledged his  sway. 

The  only  miracles,  outside  the  Quran,  which  systematic 
theology  took  notice  of,  were  miracles  of  the  Prophet. 
Though  disowned  by  the  Quran — yet  the  traditions  of  the 
3rd/9th  century  reckoned  some  two  hundred  of  them8. 
The  rationalists,  however,  interpreted  them  in  the  light  of 

(1)  Mutahliar,  IV.  113.  (2)  Mutahhar.  Ill,  22;  IV,  44.  (3) 
Mutahhar  III,  56.  (4)  Mutahhar,  III  189  (5)  Sura,  34  V.  2.  (6) 
Sura,  27,  V.  18.  (7)  Sura  27,  V.  18.  (8)  Mutahhar,  IV,  112  f 


200  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  I  SLA  M 

reason.  Thus  the  enemies,  surrounding  the  house  of  the 
Prophet,  were  blinded  not  in  point  of  fact  but  by  rage  and 
hate  and  so  did  not  notice  his  escape.  Nor  yet  did  the 
devil  himself  personally  oppose  the  Prophet  in  the  council 
house  at  Mekka  but  a  man  with  devilish  disposition7. 

Even  good  Muslims,  in  cultured  circles,  who  professed 
to  accept  these  miracles,  did  not  do  so  in  good  faith. 

In  355/966  Mutahhar  el-Makdisi  composed  his  '  Crea- 
tion and  History '  specially  to  defend  Islam  against  the  all- 
too-credulous  story-tellers  and  the  unbelieving  doubters. 
He  is  never  weary  of  re-iterating  that  only  the  Eevelation 
and  trustworthy  traditions  are  binding  upon  him.  Never- 
theless we  note  his  joy  when  he  succeeds  in  justifying  a 
miracle  before  the  Bar  of  Eeason,  "  mother  of  all  sciences  ". 
To  those  who  consider  the  assumption  of  Enoch  to  heaven, 
related  by  tradition,  impossible  he  thus  replies:  there  are 
more  wonderful  things  still,  for  instance,  the  cloud  sailing 
in  the  sky  and  the  Ea,rth,  standing  firm  despite  its  weight^. 

To  those  who  deny  the  possibility  of  Jona's  history, 
namely,  of  a  living  person  existing  in  the  womb  of  an  an- 
imal— lie  puts  forward  the  case  of  an  embryo,  living  and 
breathing  in  the  mother's  womb''. 

And  again  he  shows  his  secret  satisfaction  in  the 
rationalistic  explanation  of  Prophetic  miracles  by  giving 
enthusiastic  assent  to  the  view  that  the  very  same  phenom- 
enon may  be  a  miracle  at  one  time  and  not  so  at  another. 
He  specially  refers  to  the  Quran  as  one  such  instance  of 
relative  miracle,  admitting  thereby  that,  in  other  time, 
such  a  performance  may  be  within  human  reach  and 
accomplishment.  And  thus  he  strays  into  assertions  which 
Muslims  can  only  regard  as  the  assertions  of  a  crazed 
heretic*. 

The  Prophet  is  reported  to  have  promised  :  'God  will, 
at  the  beginning  of  every  century,  send  a  man  from  my 
house  to  make  their  religion  clear  to  them,' 

The  later  savants  have  drawn  up  a  list  of  these  're- 
vivalists' (  Mujaddidun  ),  of  whom  each  must  have  been 
born  at  the  beginning  of  his  century.  (  The  text  has 
'died'  but  the  meaning  is  evidently  'born'). 

About  the  year  400/1010  the  choice  lay  between  three 
candidates  of  equal  worthlessness.  In  300/912  the  only 
one  whose  claim  could  be  seriously  entertained  was  Ashari 

(1)     Mufcahhar,  IV,   1G3.     (2)  Mutahhar,  III,  14.     (3)     Mutahhar, 
III,  116.     (4)     Mutahhar,  IV,  164. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  201 

(d.  325/036)'.  This  indeed,  indicates  impoverishment  in 
the  domain  of  official  theology;  representing  the  most 
acute  intellects  of  the  day.  The  Mutazilites,  tlien,  raised 
all  kinds  of  problems.  As  a  sect  they  were  as  little  opposed 
to  the  Suunis  then  as  were  the  Shiahs.  This  opposition 
does  not  come  to  light  till  the  5th/llth  century*.  Not 
unlike  the  Sufis,  their  difference  with  the  majority  of  the 
faithful  in  the  4th/10th  century  was  still  a  purely  theo- 
logical difference3.  In  religious  rites  they,  for  the  most 
part,  followed  the  orthodox  school.  And  yet  there  were 
Shiite  Mutazilite  like  the  Zaidite  and  even  Alids  like  Da'i 
Abu  Abdullah — a  pupil  of  Abu  Abdullah  el-Basri/'.  Other 
famous  Shiite  Mutazilites  were  Rawendi  and  the  philologer 
Rummani  (d.  3S4/994)5.  Their  masters  were  almost  all 
Persians  who  had  emigrated  to  Mesopotamia  or  had  settled 
down  in  Isfahan.  Jubbai  (d.  303/915)  has  even  written  a 
commentary  on  the  Quran  in  Persian.  Their  central 
theme  was  theology  in  a  narrow  sense  ;  at  its  inception, 
the  relation  of  God  to  the  good  and  evil  in  the  world6 — in 
other  words,  the  doctrine  of  Predestination,  which  had  an 
intense  fascination  for  the  Zarathustrian  cast  of  mind. 
The  leading  Mutazilite  chief  of  the  time,  Ibn  al-Hudail 
el-Allaff,  is  said  to  have  celebrated  his  greatest  dialectic 
triumph  actually  against  the  Magians7.  At  the  end  of  the 
3rd/9th  century  Mutazilism  produced  the  most  doughty 
champion  of  the  daulistic  view — Ibn  al-Rawendi — who 
most  violently  opposed  his  own  sect  and  was  ultimately 
denounced  to  Government8. 

In  the  4th/10th  century,  at  least  in  Isfahan0,  neither 
the  Mutazilites  nor  the  Sufis  could  escape  the  fate  of 
being  attached  to  AH  as  their  founder'0.  Khawrezmi 
even  expressly  states  that  the  Mutazilites  (the  Sufis  also 
claimed  him)  were  devoted  to  the  Church-father  Hasan 
of  Basra  with  the  same  love  and  devotion  as  the  Shiahs 
were  to  Ali,  the  Zaidites  to  Zaid,  and  the  Imamites  to  the 
Mahdir/.  There  were  also  stray  influences  of  Gnostic 


(1)  Goldziher  Zur  CJiarakteristik  es-Suyutis,  SWA,  Vol.  69,  8  ff. 
People  also  held  different  views  on  the  question  whether  there  should 
be  only  one  reformer  in  every  century  or  one  in  every  branch  (of 
learning).  Dhahabi  held  the  latter  opinion  and  placed,  in  the  fourth 
century,  Ibn-Suraij  at  the  head  of  Jurisprudence,  Ashari  at  the  head 
of  theology,  and  Nasa'i  at  the  head  of  tradition.  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  89. 
(2.)  Ibn  Hazm,  Milal,  11,111.  (3)  Mutahhar,  1,  13.  (4)  Ahmad  Ibn 
Yahya,  Kit.  el-milal,  ed.  Arnold,  63.  (5)  Suyuti,  Hufassirin,  p.  74. 
V6)  Spitta,  Ashari,  87,  (7)  Ahmad  ibn  Yahya,  26  f,  (8)  Ahmed  ibn 
Yahya  ed.  Arnold,  53  f  (9)  Ibid,  61  f.  (10)  Arnold  5  f.  (11)  Yatimah. 
IV,  120, 


202  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

speculations  such  as  the  theories  of  the   first   creation   and 
of  the  Logos  Deiniurgos7. 

In  tho  4th/10th  century  there  were  but  few  W!KT 
speculated  on  sin  and  predestination  ;  the  outstanding 
topic  then  was  the  unity  and  attributes  of  God. 

The  advancement,  in  the  domain  of  speculation,  must 
be  ascribed  to  the  influence  of  Greek  philosophy  which  in 
the  3rd/9th  century  caused  a  lively  ferment1.  But  it  is 
to  be  noted  that  its  definite  influence  mainfests  itself  only 
upon  the  higher  stratum  of  the  Mntakallimun  (theologi- 
ans), upon  such  as  An-Nazzam  and  Jahiz  ;  nor  is  its 
influence  absent  from  Christian  theology  which,  through- 
out this  period,  busies  itself  with  the  purification  of  the 
conception  of  God*.  In  making  this  very  question, 
namely,  the  question  of  the  purification  of  the  conception 

(1)     Ihn  Hazm,  Milal,  IV,  197. 

(2)  Ihn  Hazrn,  Milal,  II,  112.  Those  few  who  gnawed  still  at  the 
old  hone  'free-will'  were  called  'Qadarites'.  The  significance  of  this 
word  is  not  easy  to  explain.  For  ihn  Ktitaihah  (Mukhtalif,  p.  98)  the 
'Qadarites  are  the  supporters  of  tho  doctrine  of  free-will  who  "  appro- 
priate all  power  to  themselves  " — their  opponents  heing  '  Jabariyyah. ' 
But  that  is  Incus  a  ntm  luccndo.  In  the  earlier  days,  however,  the 
defenders  of  '  Predestination  '  were  so  called  (Qadarites)  "  who  place 
all  their  sins  to  tho  credit  of  the  Almighty.'1  (Ahmed  ihn  Yahya,  ed, 
Arnold,  p.  12).  In  the  3rd/9th  century  strictly  speaking  they  taught 
that  God  had  created  good  and  the  devil  evil  (Ihn  Kutaihah  Tawil 
Mukhtalif  rt-liaditli,  Cairo,  1320,  p.  5  ;  Spitta,  el-A*hari,  p.  131).  For 
this  dualism  people  called  them,  '  the  Zoroastrians  of  Islam  ;  (Ihn 
Kutaihah,  9G)  and  related  of  them  the  old  story  where  a  Qadarite 
recommended  Islam  to  one  of  other  faith.  To  that  recommendation 
lie  replied  that  lie  would  wait  until  God  so  wished  it.  Thereupon 
the  Qadarito  rejoined  :  God  wished  so  long  ago  hut  the  devil  has  stood 
in  the  way,  Thereupon  the  Jew  or'the  Christian — whoever  he  was — 
answered  :  I  remain  with  the  stronger  of  the  two  (Ihn  Kutaibah,  99). 
On  account  of  this  dualism  the  orthodox  then  called  even  the  advocates 
of  free- will  "  Qadarites  ";  while  these  with  more  etymological  correctness 
called  the  orthodox  so.  (Ibn  Kutaibah,  Mvkhtalif  97  ;  Ibn  Hazm,  1, 
54).  In  the  4th/10th  century  Mukaddasi  mentions  the  Qadariya 
sect  as  having  been  absorbed  into  that  of  al-Mutazilah  (Eng.  tr.  p.  54. 
text  p.  37).  Even  Ashari  places  the  Mutazilah  and  the  ahl  el-Qadr  side 
by  side  (Spitta,  131).  But  no  one  with  discrimination  can  fail  to  see, 
says  Mnkkadasi,  the  difference  between  the  two  ;  adding  at  the  same 
time  the  fact  that  the  'Qadriyya'  have  been  absorded  in  the  larger  whole 
of  the  *  Mutazilah.  '  And  yet  about  400/1010  the  most  celebrated  Muta- 
zilite  then,  Abdnl  Jabbar,  the  Qadhi  of  Kai,  will  not  give  the  appelation 
of  the  'Qadariyya'  to  his  school  and  sought  to  establish — naturally  with 
the  help  of  tho  sayings  of  the  Prophet— that  by  the  '  Qadarites  '  the 
orthodox  fatalists  were  meant  (Schreiner,  ZDMG,  52,  p.  509  f.). 

(3)  Horowitz,  nber  den  Einfluss  der  griechischen  Philosophie  auf 
Entwicklung  des  kalam,  Breslau,  1909. 

(4)  Becker,  £A,  V01,  26,176  ff. 


RENAISSANCE  Off  ISLAM  203 

of  divinity,  the  central  theme  of  their  discussions  the  Muta- 
zilites  not  only  made  it  'the  main  dogma  even  of  modern 
Muslim  theology  but  gave  a  peculiar  turn  to  Arab  philo- 
'sophy,  which,  with  its  speculations  on  the  essence  and 
attributes  of  God,  has,  through  Spinozism,  affected,  Western 
thought. 

The  Mutazilites,  says  Ibn  Hazm,  have  invented  the 
term  Sifat  (attributes) — the  older  term  being  mi'itf,  (de- 
scriptions)7. Mukaddasi  considers  subtlety,  knowledge, 
lewdness  and  scoffing  as  the  chief  features  of  the  Muta- 
zilites3.  That  they  were  regarded  as  particularly  prone 
to  contention  and  disputes  is  palpable  from  their  very 
system  itself  which  is  wholly  based  upon  dialectic*. 

The  Mutazilites  say  :  "Wljpn  the  learned  dispute,  they 
are  both  in  the  right'*.  But"  despite  their  contentious 
spirit  they  were  so  firmly  knitted  together  that  in  the 
4th/10th  century  "clinging  one  to  another  like  Mutazilites" 
bee  line  a  proverb7. 

These  scholastics  drew  everything  into  the  meshes  of 
their  speculations  and  "craved  for  all  knowledge6.''  The 
so-called  philosophers  looked  slightingly  down  upon  them  ; 
not  unlike  an  empirical  psychologist  upon  the  metaphy- 
sician7. Besides  being  narrow-minded  the  philosophers 
suspected  the  scholastics  of  an  irreligious  trend  of  thought, 
nay  of  positive  scepticism8.  These  scholastics  rejected 
magic,  astrology,  even  miracles  of  saints.  "Of  this  band 
three  stand  out  conspicuously  in  the  world  of  Islam  : 
Jahiz,  Ali  Ibn  Ubaid-ullah  al-Lutfi,  and  Abu  Zaid  al- 
Balkhi''.  Of  these,  Jahiz  and  Balkhi,  the  second  is  not 
known  to  me,  were  men  of  rare  liberality  and  breadth  of 
vision.  In  Jahiz  there  is  more  eloquence  than  substance  ; 
in  Balkhi,  a  happy  union  of  the  two.  Jahiz  is  the  Vol- 
taire ;  Balkhi  (d.  322/933),10-  the  more  sober  and  the  more 
solid,  is  the  Alexander  Humboldt  of  this  school.  Besides 
philosophy  Balkhi  studied  astronomy,  medicine,  geo- 
graphy, natural  sciences.  He  wrote  a  work  on  the  Quran  in 
which  he  considered — without  speculation  or  digression — 


(1)  Bukhari,  Kit.  al-tauUid  ;  according  to  Goldziher,  Zahiritent  145 
note  1.  (2)  p.  41  ;  Eng.  tr.  p.  69.  (3)  In  their  hey-day  Ibn  Raffal 
(d.  355  or  365)  is  said  to  have  composed  the  first  work  on  the 
art  of  controversy  (Jadal)  ;  Ahnlmahasin,  II,  321.  (4)  Samarqandi, 
Bustan  al-arifin,  p.  15.  (5)  Khwarezmi,  Rasa'il,  63.  (6)  Jahiz,  Kit. 
al-haywan,  IV,  109.  (7)  Goldziher,  Kit.-Maani  en-nafs,  AGGW,  N.  P. 
IP.  p.  13  ff.  (8)  Goldziher,  ZDMG,  vol.  62,  p,  2.  ff  ;  Ahmed  b.  Yahya, 
ed.  Arnold,  51.  (9)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,  148.  (10)  Irshad  1,  142. 


204  THE  HENAISSANGE  OF  ISLAM 

only  the  actual  meaning  of  m  the  words.  His  book 
of  allegory  caused  the  forfeiture  of  a  pension  which  he 
drew  from  a  Karrnathian  magnate. 

Ibn  Kutaibah  tells  us  what  the  opponents  of  Jahiz 
thought  of  him.  "  Of  all  the  scholastics  he  is  strongest 
in  this  :  ho  makes  trilies  great  and  great  things  triiles". 

He  can  defend  opposite  propositions  with  equal  dexter- 
ity. Now  he  will  vindicate  the  pre-eminence  of  the  black 
over  white.  Now  he  will  fight  with  the  Shiahs  on  behalf 
of  the  party  of  Uthman  and  now  against  the  Othmanites 
and  the  Sunnites  for  the  Shiites.  Now  he  will  exalt  Ali 
and  yet  again  lay  him  low.  He  composed  a  book  adducing 
the  reasons  urged  by  Christians  against  Muslims  but  instead 
of  meeting  their  charges  he  withheld  proof  suggesting 
thereby  that  he  wanted  to  drive  the  Muslims  to  a  corner 
and  to  cause  doubt  in  those  of  weak  faith.  His  writings 
are  full  of  jokes  and  fun  to  attract  youths  and  wine- 
bibbers.  He  ridicules  the  tradition' — as  all  learned  men 
know — \\hcn  he  speaks  of  the  liver  of  the  whale  which 
supports  the  earth  ;  of  the  horn  of  the  devil,  and,  equally 
so  when  ho  asserts  that  the  black  stone  was  originally 
white,  only  the  heathens  had  made  it  black,  arid  that  the 
faithful  would  restore  its  original  colour  when  they  be- 
come truly  so.  And  in  the  same  scoffing  tone  he  speaks 
of  the  scroll,  on  which  was  inscribed  '  the  Revelation  con- 
cerning Suckling ';  which  lay  under  the  bed  of  Ayesha 
and  was  eaten  up  by  a  sheep  and  of  other  Christian  and 
Jewish  traditions  such  as  the  traditions  of  "  the  cock  and 
the  raven  drinking  together "  "  the  hoopco  burying,  its 
mother,  in  its  head,  "  the  history  of  the  hymn  of  the  frog 
and  '  the  scarf-ring  of  the  pigeon  '.  And  yet  others  which 
gravely  offended  Muslims. 

Once  on  a  Friday  Thumamah,  their  leader,  saw  the 
people  rushing  in  emulation  to  a  mosque  to  be  in  time  of 
prayer.  See  '  the  cattle  ,'  'the  donkeys  ,'  he  cried  out 
and  told  a  friend  :  '  what  has  this  Arrab  made  of  men  '* 

In  the  3rd/9th  century  the  ecclesiastical  circles  were 
riven  with  hatred  and  contempt  for  each  other.  In 
300/912  the  Mutazilites  Ashari  went  over  to  the  enemy 
and  waged  war  with  the  Mutazilites  with  their  own  wea- 
pons. And  thus  in  the  4th/10th  century  the  official  scienti- 
fic dogmatics  of  J slain  came  into  being.  Like  every  official 
system  it  was  a  compromise  and  was  called  the  Madhab 

(1)     Ibn  Kutaibah  Mukhtalif  cl-lwuUth,  [CSrol326],  ppr7Tff7~~" 
(2)     Ibn  Kutaibah,  Taioil  mukhtalif  el~haditht  60, 


THE   llBNAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  205 

an  sat  (the  middle  course)7.  Ashari  flattered  himself  on 
being  able  to  reconcile  the  most  orthodox  teaching  with 
reason  and  declared  himself  a  Hambalite.  In  his  articles 
of  faith  he  wrote  :  "  we  teach  what  Ahmad  ibn  Hanbal 
has  taught  and  refuse  credence  to  those  who  differ  from 
him.  He  is  an  excellent  Imam  and  a  perfect  master  and 
through  him  has  God  revealed  the  truth  when  error  got 
the  upper  hand"/ 

This  notwithstanding — the  Hanbalites  adopted  an 
attitude  of  hostility  towards  him'1.  With  justice,  Ibn 
al  Jauzi  says,  that  he  really  always  remained  a  Mutazilite*. 
His  system  had  the  common  fate  of  all  compromise- 
theology.  Its  prominent  disciples  strongly  leaned  towards 
the  left — notably  so  Al-Baqilani  (d.  403/1012)  who  intro- 
duced the  ideas  of  atom,  of  empty  space,  etc.,  into  dog- 
matics'7. 

Another  who  began  as  his  disciple  but  went  over  to 
the  Mutaxilitos  and  became  its  prominent  leader  was 
Qadi  Abdul  Jabbar  of  Eai';.  He  owed  his  success  in  life 
to  Sahib  ibn  Abbad  but,  dispitc  this,  he  refused  ecclesias- 
tical benediction  to  him,  after  death,  because  he  had  died 
without  repentance7.  Ibn  al-AtMr  is  quite  indignant 
over  it  and  regards  him  as  a  type  of  perfidy  and  faithless- 
ness. From  all  this  it  is  mainfest  that  the  Mutazilites  as 
a  whole  deserve  but  little  the  title  of  the  '  Free-minded  \ 

Daring  the  4th/10bh  century  tho  representatives  of 
the  old  Sunuah  opposed  the  arrogant  Shiahs  at  Baghdad. 
In  the  Provinces  they  made  the  position  of  the  Mutazilites 
difficult.  But  though  they  stirred  the  people  up  against 
them — they  met  with  little  success  in  this  direction.  We 
hear,  indeed,  of  a  very  few  persecutions*. 

The  Asharite  system  was  not  yet  strong  enough  to 
stand  as  arrival  to  the  Sunnah.  Not  until  380/10CO  does 
it  at  all  assume  any  importance  in  Mesopotamia'1  when  it  - 
has  to  reap  the  consequences  thereof.  The  Hanbalites 
forbade  the  Khatib  al-Baghdadi  admission  into  the  chief 
mosque  at  Baghdad  for  his  Asharite  leanings'".  Under 
Toghril  Beg  the  leading  Asharite  teachers  were  persecuted 

[1]  Spitta,  ashari,  46.  Their  nearest  predecessors,  among  the 
dialecticians,  were  the  Kallabites  who  wpro  now  merged  in  the 
Asharites  and  who  were  reproached  for  their  rigid  doctrine  of 
predestination.  Mnk.  37  (Eng.  tr'  p.  55).  (2)  Spitta,  133.  (3)  Spitta, 
111,  (4)fol.7lb.  (5)  Schreiner,  p.  82  according  to  Ibn  Khaldun. 
(6)  Ahmed  ibn.  Yahya,  od  Arnold.  (1)  Ibn  al-AthL  IX,  72.  (8) 
Two  specially  characteristic  ones  in  Goldziher  ZDMG,  02  p,  8.  (9) 
Maqrizi,  Khitat,  I,  358.  (10)  He  was  consistently  unjust  to  the  Han* 
halites  (Ibn  al-Jauzi,  fol.  118  b). 


206  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

and  banished  and  towards  the  end  of  the  century  an  in- 
fluential Asharite,  Al-Qushairi  (d.  514/1120),  was  compelled 
to  leave  the  capital  (Baghdad)  on  account  of  a  riot  foment- 
ed by  the  Hanbalites'. 

From  this  event  Ibn  Asakir  dates  the  real  uplit  between 
the  two  parties"'.  This  new  theology  which  was  destined 
to  be  the  theology  of  Islam  slowly  spread  over  tho  empire. 
In  tho  extreme  East  it  entered  into  competition  with  the 
system  of  Al-Maturidi — though  the  two  systems  had  much 
in  common.  But  apart  from  this  it  had  to  fight  the  Han- 
balites  whose  leader  is  said  to  have  solemnly  anathe- 
matised Ashari  in  400/1010',  and  the  Karmathians  who, 
just  at  this  period,  denounced  the  Asharites  to  Govern- 
ment as  those  who  maintained  that  the  Prophet  was 
dead*. 

Iu  the  west,  indeed,  Ash.iriism  made  its  way  from  one 
cultural  scat  to  another  -Sicily,  Qairwan,  and  Spain 
where  their  cause,  at  the  time  of  Ibn  Hazm,  'Praise 
be  to  God7,  was  not  in  a  very  nourishing  condition5.  In 
Noith  Africa'1'  it  was  entirely  unknown  and  as  not 
introduced  until  about  500/1107  by  Ibn  Tumart7. 

At  tho  beginning  of  the  5th/llth  century  theological 
differences  were  in  a  measure  officially  settled.  In 
408/1017  Caliph  Al-Qadir  issued  an  edict  against  the  Muta- 
Elites.  He  commanded  them  to  desist  from  teaching 
their  doctrines  and  stopped  them  discussing  views 
at  variance  with  the  orthodox  Islam  on  pnin  of  punish- 
ment. Of  the  Amirs— the  newly  risen  Star  in  the  East, 
Muhmud  of  Ghazni,  gave  effect  tc  the  command  of  the 
Caliph. 

He  persecuted  the  schismatics,  killed  them,  banished 
them  and  had  them  cursed  from  the  puplit.  "Such 
Ciwsi'Hff  became  this  year  the  practice  in  Islam*".  At 
Baghdad  a  similar  edict  was  once  more  issued  and  promul- 
gated. In  433/1041  the  very  same  Caliph  (Al-Qadir) 
issued  a  Confession  of  Faith  which  was  solemnly  read  out 
at  Baghdad  and  subscribed  to  by  the  theologians  in 
order  that  "one  may  know  who  is  an  unbeliever".  This 
was  the  first  official  announcement  of  its  kind.  It  meant 
the  end  of  theology.  The  intelligent  mind  perceives  in 

(1)  GolclKihov,  Uf/S)  Spitta,  A*harit  111.  (3)  Suhki,  III,  117 
(4)  Hubki,  III  54.  (5)  Milal,  IV,  204.  (G)Qairwan  is  in  N.  Africa— 
(7)  Goldziher  ZDMG,  41,  30  ff.  (8)  Ibn  al-Janzi,  fol.  16,  56. 


RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  207 

every  word  here  the  germs  of  age-long  disputes."  It  is 
necessary  for  man  to  know  that  there  is  one  God  who  has 
no  Companion,  who  neither  begets  nor  is  begotten,  who 
has  DO  equal  and  has  accepted  none  as  His  son  or  com- 
panion and  who  has  no  co-ruler  of  the  universe  with  him. 
He  is  the  first  and,  as  such,  He  has  always  been.  He  is 
the  last  for  He  will  never,  cease  to  exist.  All  powerful — 
He  needs  nothing.  When  He  wishes  a  thing — He  has 
only  to  say — 'be1  and  it  is  there.  There  is  no  God  besides 
Him.  Living — no  sleep  overtakes  him,  no,  not  even  a 
casual  slumber.  He  gives  food  but  does  not  take  it  Him- 
self. He  is  alone  and  yet  never  feels  lonely.  He  is  friendly 
with  none.  Years  age  him  not !  and  how  can  they  affect 
Him  for  He  is,  indeed,  the  Author  of  the  year  and  time, 
day  and  night,  light  and  darkness,  heaven  and  earth,  and 
all  the  creatures  that  are  therein,  of  land  and  water  and  all 
that  is  within  them  and,  verily,  of  all  things,  living  and 
dead.  He  is  the  only  one  of  his  kind — there  is  nothing 
near  or  about  Him.  No  space  encloses  Him.  By  His 
sheer  power  He  has  created  every  thing.  He  has  created 
the  throne  though  He  does  not  need  it.  Pie  is  on  the 
throne  because  He  so  wills  it  and,  not  like  human  beings, 
to  rest  on  it. 

He  is  the  Director  of  heaven  and  of  earth  and  of  all 
things  there  and  of  all  things  on  land  and  water.  There 
is  no  director  save  him  and  no  protector  either.  He 
controls  mankind.  He  makes  them  ill  and  well  again, 
makes  them  die  or  keeps  them  alive.  But  weak  are 
created  beings,  Angels,  Prophets,  Apostles,  all  creatures. 
He  is  knowing  through  his  own  knowledge.  Eternal  and 
incomprehensible  is  He.  He  is  the  Hearer  who  hears  and 
the  Seer  who  sees.  Of  His  attributes  men  only  apprehend 
these  two  and  none  of  his  creatures  attains  them  both. 

He  speaks  but  not  with  organs  like  those  of  humarx 
beings.  Only  those  attributes  should  be  ascribed  to  Him 
which  He  has  Himself  ascribed  or  those  which  His  Pro- 
phets have  ascribed  to  Him  and  every  one  of  the  attributes 
which  He  has  himself  ascribed  is  an  attribute  of  His 
being  which  man  should  not  overlook. 

Man  should  also  know  :  the  word  of  God  is  not  created. 
He  has  spoken  through  Gabriel  and  has  revealed  it  to  his 
Prophet.  After  Gabriel  had  heard  it  from  Him — he  re- 
peated it  to  Muhammad,  Muhammad  to  his  companions, 
his  Companions  to  the  community.  And,  therefore,  mere 
repetition  by  man  does  not  make  'the  word'  created  for 


208  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

it  is  the  very  word  of  God  and  the  word  of  God  is  not 
created.  And  'uncreated'  it  remains  whether  repeated 
or  retained  in  memory,  written  or  heard.  He  who  asserts 
that  it  is  in  any  way  '  created  '  is  an  unbliever  whose 
blood  it  is  permissible  to  shed — should  he  refuse  to  repent 
of  his  error  when  called  upon  to  do  so. 

One  should  also  know  t-hat  Faith  is  speech,  action, 
and  thought  :  Speech  with  the  tongue,  action  with  the 
arkan  (members)  and  the  limbs  (jawarili).  Faith  may 
become  greater  or  smaller — greater  by  obedience,  smaller 
by  refractoriness.  It  has  different  stages  and  divisions. 
The  highest  is  the  confession  :  'There  is  no  God  but  Allah  !  ' 
Self-control  is  part  of  faith  and  patience  is  to  faith  what 
the  head  is  to  the  body.  Man  knoweth  not  what  is  record- 
ed about  it  with  God  and  what  is  sealed  there  with  Him. 
And  for  this  reason  precisely  we  say  :  'He  is  believing 
if  God  will  :  and  I  hope,  I  am  believing.'  There  is  no 
other  resource  save  hope.  Let  him  not,  therefore,  despair 
because  he  is  striving  for  something  which  lies  hidden  in 
the  future.  He  should  honestly  cany  out  all  lawrs  and 
directions  and  do  acts  of  supererogation  for  all  these  are 
part  of  faith.  Faith  never  reaches  an  end,  since  superero- 
gatory works  never  attain  a  limit 

One  must  love  all  the  Companions  of  the  Prophet. 
They  are  the  best  of  human  beings  after  the  Prophet. 
The  best  and  noblest  of  them  after  the  Prophet  is  Abu 
Bakr  as-Siddiq,  next  to  him  Omar  ibn  al-Khattab,  next 
to  Omar  Othman  ibn  Affan,  and  next  to  Othman.  Ali-Ibn 
Abi-Talib.  May  God  bless  them  and  associate  with  them 
in  paradise  and  have  compassion  on  the  souls  of  the  Com- 
panions of  the  Prophet.  Ho  who  slanders  Ayesha  has  no 
part  or  lot  in  Islam.  Of  Moawiyah  we  should  only  say 
good  things  and  refuse  to  enter  into  nny  controversy  about 
him.  We  should  invoke  God's  mercy  for  all,  God  has 
said  :  'And  they  who  have  come  after  them  into  the  faith 
say,  0,  our  Lord,  forgive  us  and  our  brethren  who  have 
proceeded  us  in  the  faith,  put  not  into  our  hearts  ill-will 
against  them  who  believe.  0,  our  Lord  !  Thou  verily  art 
kind  and  merciful".  And  He  said  of  them  :  We  will  remove 
what  is  in  their  breasts  of  rancour  as  brethren  face  to  face 
on  couches2.  We  should  declare  no  one  an  unbeliever  for 
omitting  to  fulfil  any  of  the  legal  ordinances  except  the 
prescribed  prayer  ;  for  he  who  neglects  to  pray  without 
duo  cause  is  an  unbeliever  even  though  he  does  not  deny 

(1)  Sura,  59,  10.     (2)  Sura  15,   47. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  209 

the  duty  of  praying,  as  the  Prophet  said  :  Neglect  of  prayer 
is  of  unbelief,  whoso  neglects  it  is  an  unbeliever,  and 
remains  so  until  he  repents  and  prays.  And  were  he  to 
die  before  repentance  he  will  awake  on  the  day  of  judgment 
with  Pharaoh,  Haman,  and  Korah.  The  neglect  of  other 
injunctions  does  not  make  one  an  unbeliever  even  if  one  is 
so  criminal  as  not  to  admit  the  duty.  Such  are  the  doc- 
trines of  the  Sunnah  and  of  the  community  !  He  who 
stands  by  them  stands  in  the  clear  light  of  truth,  is  under 
right  guidance  and  on  the  true  path.  For  such  an  one 
we  may  hope  for  immunity  from  hell-fire  and  admission 
into  paradise,  God  willing  !  Some  one  asked  the  Prophet : 
towards  whom  one  should  be  of  good  will  ?  He  replied: 
all  the  faithful,  high  and  low.  And  he  said  :  Should  a 
warning  come  from  God  to  man  through  religion — it  is 
but  an  act  of  God's  mercy.  Should  he  pay  heed  to  the 
warning — it  will  be  profitable  to  him — Should  he  not — 
it  will  be  a  witness  against  him.  But  by  refusal  (to  pay 
heed)  he  multiplies  his  sins  and  draws  down  upon  him  the 
wrath  of  God.  May  God  make  us  thankful  for  his  favours 
and  mindful  of  His  mercies  !  Let  Him  make  us  defenders 
of  pious  practices  and  kt  Him  forgive  us  and  all  the 
faithful'". 

The  friendly  intercourse  with  Christians  and  Jews— a 
toleration  unparalleled  in  the  Middle  Ages— gave  to 
Muslim  theology  an  absolutely  unmediseval  appendix. 
Thus  the  science  of  comparative  religion  took  its  rise  from 
an  altogether  untheological  quarter. 

Naubakhti  who  wrote  the  first  important  book  on  the 
subject  belonged  to  that  group  which  translated  Greek 
works  into  Arabic3.  The  very  untheological  Masudi  wrote 
two  books  on  'Comparative  religion  '<J.  Then,  again,  the 
civil  servant  Musabbihi  (d.  420/1029),  who  wrote,  in  his 
own  long-winded  way  some*  3,500  leaves''  on  'Beligions 
and  cults',  was  a  writer  with  distinct  worldly  interests. 
The  explanation  that  we  can  offer  for  this  work — the  only 
work  of  his  dealing  with  religion — is  his  Sabian  interests  ; 
for  his  family  came  from  Harran,  celebrated  for  Sabian 
associations5. 

Nor  must  we  lose  sight  of  the  fact  that  theologians 
of  inquisitive  turn  of  mind  also  occupied  themselves  with 
this  subject.  And  this  is  abundantly  manifest  from  the 

[1]  Ibn  al-Jauzi,r!95  f.  (2)  Masudi,  1,156  ;  Fihrist,  177.  (3)  Masudi, 
1,200  ff.    (4)    Fihrist]  92,   24.    (5)    Tallquist,   102, 


210  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Kit.  al-niilal  wan-niJtalfoook  of  sects  and  religions)  of 
Abu  Mansur  al-Baghdadi  (d.  42-2/1031) — a  title  which  now 
comes  into  fashion7.  Like  a  pious  Muslim,  the  Spanish 
Ibn  Hazm  (d.  456/1064),  in  his  similarly  named  works,  has 
discussed  a  number  of  religious  systems;-  while,  in  the 
beginning  of  the  5th/llth  century  Biruni  (d.  400/1009) 
wrote  his  'History  of  India1  which  is  essentially  an  account 
of  the  Hindu  religion  from  a  purely  scientific  point  of  view 
"not,  as  he  says,  in  a  spirit  of  opposition  but  with  a  view 
to  bring  facts  to  light"'. 

It  is  noteworthy  that  the  'historians  of  religion' 
were  mostly  men  whose  faith  was  not  altogether  above 
doubt  or  suspicion.  Even  Shahrastani  is  reproached  for 
his  heretical  tendencies.  In  his  preachings  he  is  never 
once  said  to  have  quoted  from  the  Quran'. 

(1)  Subki,     III,   939.   (2)   Sachau  (Eng.    Tr)    117.    (3)  Yaqut,    III, 
343;  Goldzihor   SWA  73,552. 


XIV— THE  SCHOOLS  OF  JUIUSPBUDENCE. 

IN  the  history  of  Muslim  Law  the  4th/10th  century 
constitutes  an  important  landmark.  Then  the  supreme 
source  of  legal  development — the  interpretation  of  the 
Qur'an  and  the  tradition  by  the  aid  of  individual  light — 
is  supposed  to  have  ceased  (Ijtihad  Mutlaq).1  Then  the 
creative  period  ended  ;  the  old  masters  were  set  down  as 
infallible  and  only  in  matters  of  trivial  concern  were  the 
Jurists  allowed  to  form  an  independent  judgment  of  their 
own.  In  other  words  the  rabbis  succeeded  the  scribes. 

13ut  such,  indeed,  is  only  the  Islamic  view  of  the  posi- 
tion of  affairs !  In  reality,  here,  as  elsewhere,  precisely 
the  same  thing  happens — the  outstanding  feature  is  the 
introduction  of  the  pre-Islarnic  legal  conceptions —the 
revival  of  the  old  Greco-Roman  ideas.  These  ideas  were 
represented  by  the  Jurists  (Fuqaha),  in  contradistinction 
to  the  upholders  of  the  Suiuiah,  who  sought  to  shape  and 
regulate  life  in  conformity  with  the  word  of  God  and  His 
Piophet.  The  old  school,  however,  would  not  yield 
straightaway  and  was  still  predominant  in  two  very  im- 
portant provinces— Pars  and  Syria -besides  Sind.~  Fur- 
ther, in  Media  it  reckoned  many  supporters. 

Of  the  schools  of  Siuinali  the  Hanbalites,  the  Auzaites 
and  the  Thaurites  were  the  most  important.'1  But  as 
compared  with  later  times  it  is  necessary  to  note  that  the 
Hanbalites  were  not  then  regarded  as  Jurists  at  all.  In 
306/918  the  schools  of  jurisprudence  mentioned  are  :  the 
Shafi'ites,  the  Malikites,  the  Thaurites,  the  Hanafites, 
and  the  Daudites';.  And  towards  the  end  of  the  century  : 
the  Hanafites,  the  Malikites,  the  Shafi'ites  a-nd  the 
Daudite9J.  On  neither  of  these  occasions  are  the  Hanbalites 

(1)  Snouck  Hurgronjo,  HUB  37,p.  1?6. 

(2)  Muk.,  179,  395,  439,  481. 

(3)  Fihrist,  225,  Milk.,  37  (Se  Inmmens,  Mam,  Ch.  V.  Tr.), 

(4)  Subki,  II,  337. 

(6)  Muk.,  37. 


212  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

referred  to  as  a  School  of  Law.  There  was  a  disturbance 
at  Tabari's  funeral  (d.  310/022)  because,  in  his  work  on 
the  Differences  of  opinion  among  Jurists,  he  completely 
ignored  Ibn  Hanbal  on  the  ground  that  he  was  no  jurist 
but  a  mere  traditionist/  Only  later  did  the  Hanbalites 
succeed  in  receiving  recognition  as  Jurists'.  The  other 
schools  of  Jurisprudence  could  not  hold  out.  Already 
in  the  3rd/9th  century  the  Auzaites  had  been  overshadowed 
in  Spain  by  the  Malikites.  The  Qadi  of  Damascus,  how- 
over,  who  died  in  347/958,  was  an  Auzaite.13  They  even 
had  a  school  in  the  great  mosque  of  Damascus.  *  Accord- 
ing to  Muqaddasi  Auzai  failed  only  because  the  centre  of 
his  teaching  was  too  far  away  :  "  Had  it  lain  on  the  route 
of  the  pilgrims,  the  inhabitants  of  both  East  and  West 
would  have  embraced  it."5  Muqaddasi  even  regards  the 
teachings  of  Sufyan  Thauri  which,  at  one  time,  predomi- 
nated in  Isfahan,  to  have  fallen  into  obscurity.6  In 
405/1014  died  the  last  great  jurist  who  delivered  lectures 
in  the  Mansurali  Mosque  at  Baghdad  according  to  that 
school  of  Jurisprudence.7  Although,  according  to  tradi- 
tion, some  five  hundred  schools  of  Jurisprudence  are  said 
to  have  disappeared  at  or  about  the  beginning  of  the 
3rd/9th  century — yet  everything  still  was  in  a  state  of  llux.8 

Daud  of  Isfahan  (p.  270-883)  founded  the  Zahirifce  school 
which  in  the  4th/10th  century  rose  to  great  prominence 
in  the  East.  In  Iran  it  included  within  its  circle  some  very 
distinguished  names  and  in  Fars  even  the  Qadi  and  other 
Judicial  officers  subscribed  to  its  tenets.  The  ruler  'Adad- 
ud-Daulah  himself  belonged  to  that  school/'  It  rigorously 
proceeded  against  the  compromise  affected  by  Shafii' 
between  the  old  traditional  school  of  Simnah  and  the  new 
jurisprudence.™  Like  all  extremists  it  aimed  at  puri- 
fication. Its  principle  to  stand  faithfully  by  tradition  was 
a  scientific  principle  but  it  was  soon  apparent  that 

(1)  Ibn  Jauzi,    Muntazam,    Sub   anno.  310  according  to  Thabit   ibn- 
Sinan:  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,   98,according   to   Misk  :  Wustenfeld,     AGGW 
37,  Nr.  80. 

(2)  According    to    Ghazzali    about  500/1107,    Kern,    Ikhtilaf   of 
Tabari,  14. 

(3)  Abu'l-Maha.sin,  II,  347. 

(4)  Mnk.,  179. 

(5)  Mnk.,  144  (Eng.  tr.  p.  234  Tr.) 

(Gj  Mnk.,  37,395  (on  Sufyan    Thauri,  see  Ibn   Khali.    I,    576  Eng. 
Tr.) 

(7)  Ibn  Taghribardi,  12G. 

(8)  'Uindat  al-arifin  in  Kern's  Iklililaf  oi  Tabari,   14. 

(9)  Muk.,  439. 

(10)     Khwarezmi,  Mafatih  al-'ulum,  p.  8  :  Goldziher,  Zaliriten,  110 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  213 

jurisprudence  was  not  an  exact  science.  Its  clear-cut 
method  exercised  by  far  the  greatest  influence  in  the  his- 
torico-philological  sphere.  According  to  Muqaddasi  the 
chief  characteristic  of  the  Zahirites  are  :  Pride,  acute- 
ness,  combativeness,  prosperity/ 

The  historian  Tabari  (d.  310/923}  also  founded  a  school 
of  jurisprudence.  For  months  after  his  death  the  pious 
came  to  his  house  to  offer  prayers  at  his  grave. '  Tabari' s 
friend,  Jbn  Shajarah,  who  died  at  the  ago  of  ninety  in 
350/961,  likewise,  followed  his  own  line  of  thought  and 
acknowledged  no  master.  Despite  his  independence  (and  it 
is  characteristic  of  the  tolerant  conditions  in  the  East) 
he  became  a  Qadi  (Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  18).  Even  the 
Qadi  of  Old  Cairo  Ibn  Harbawaihi  (d.  319/931  over  hundred 
years  old) — belonging  as  he  did  to  the  Shafi'ite  school — 
decided  according  to  his  own  light,  unfettered  by  any 
system  or  authority. 

Had  another  done  this,  it  would  not  have  boon  toler- 
ated for  an  instant  but  no  one,  in  his  ease,  took  exception 
to  it  (Kindi,  528  ;  Subki,  Tabayat,  II,  303). 

But,  in  point  of  fact,  the  four  main  schools  held  their 
ground — as  is  the  case  in  the  East  to-day — except  in  the 
Hhi'ite  countries.  In  the  4th  century  the  HanbalilcB, 
for  the  first  time,  passed  beyond  the  confines  of  Mesopo- 
tamia/ 

But  the  outstanding  fact  is  the  expansion  of  the 
Shafi'ites  with  their  head-quarters  at  Mckka  and  Medina.' 
"  Since  the  appearance  of  the  Shafi'ites  up  to  tho  present 
day,  the  offices  of  judge,  of  preacher,  and  of  superintendent 
in  the  holy  towns  had  been  in  their  hands.  For  the  last 
563  years  they  have  preached  in  the  mosque  of  the  Prophet 
according  to  the  school  of  his  cousin  Muhammad  ibn  Idris 
el-Shafa'i.  And  the  Prophet  has  been  present  and  has 
heard  what  they  have  preached  and  therein  lies  the  best 
proof  that  this  school  is  the  best  school  before  God.  "5 
In  Mesopotamia  they  received  but  little  support.  There 
the  Jurists  and  the  Qadis  were  mostly  Hanafites;0  although 

(1)  P.  41. 

(2)  Wustenfeld,   AGGXX  37,  Nr.   80.     Ibn   Taghribardi   mentions 
a  jurist  who  died  in  410/1019   belonging   to  tho   school  of  Tabari.     Tho 
Egyptian   Qadi   al-Kha   ibi   (supplement   to  Kindi,  p.  577),   who  died  in 
347/958,  wrote  a  controversial  work  against  Tabari. 

(3)  Suyuti,  Eusnnl-Nulwlem,  1,  228. 

(4)  Khwavezmi,  Ens' ail,  03.     Muk.  is  silent  on  this  point. 

(5)  Subki,  Tabaqat,  1,  1  4. 

(6)  Muk,  204  (Eng.  tr.) 


THE  HENAtSSAtiCE  OF  ISLAM 

in  338/949  a  Shaf  i  was  appointed  the  chief  Qadi7.  In  the 
East  they  were  more  successful  against  the  Hanafites2. 
In  Syria  and  Egypt  they  managed  to  establish  their  strong- 
hold. Abu  Zuiah  (d.  302/914)  was  the  first  Shafi'te 
Qadi  of  Damascus  and  of  the  Egyptian  capital.  His 
successors  in  Syria  remained  loyal  to  his  School*. 
In  Egypt  their  opponents  were  the  Malikites  who  had  come 
to  power  there  since  the  middle  of  the  2nd/8th  century. 
In  326/938  the  Shafi'ites  and  the  Malkites  had  each  15 
circles  of  students  in  the  chief  mosque  of  Fustat  ;  the 
Hanafites  only  three''.  At  the  time  of  Muqaddasi  a 
Shaft'i,  for  the  first  time,  acted  as  Imam  of  the  mosque  of 
Ibn  Tulun.  Till  then  this  office  was  almost  exclusively 
held  by  the  Malikites.  Even  most  of  the  Jurists  there 
belonged  to  the  Malikite  school:5  The  circles  of  audience 
which  formed  round  the  Malikite  Imam  ouNa'ali  (d.  380/990) 
covered  seventeen  pillars  of  the  mosque6.  For  this 
reason  precisely  the  Fatimid  Government  proceeded  very 
severely  against  the  Malikites.  In  381/991,  for  instance, 
a  man  was  scourged  at  Old  Cairo  and  was  taken  round  the 
town  in  disgrace  for  possessing  a  copy  of  the  Muatta  of 
Ibii  Malik. 

After  the  fall  of  the  Fatimids — the  Ayyubids,  by  their 
Shafi'ite  leanings,  helped  this  school  on  to  victory.  But, 
as  IB  the  case  to-day,  the  whole  of  Lower  Egypt  remained 
essentially  Malikite.  Further  westward  the  Shafi'ite 
propaganda  did  not  penetrate.  Between  thorn  the  Mali- 
kiten  and  the  Hanafttes  shared  the  Maghrib7 — the  latter 
being  less  rigid  were  more  acceptable  to  the  Fatimids  than 
the  former.  But  when  in  440/1048  North  Africa  shook 
off  the  Fatimid  yoke — not  only  the  Shi'ites  but  also  the 
Hanatites  suffered  ;  the  province  having  passed  into  the 
hands  of  the  Malikites  who  retain  it  even  to-days.  In 
Spain  the  Malikites  reigned  supreme''. 

At  Bhaghdad  itself  the  Hanbalites,  among  the  orthodox, 

(1)  Subki,  II,  244. 

(2)  At  Shasli  the  extreme  edge  of  the  empire,  the  Shafi'ite  teaching 
\vas  introduced  by  a  scholar  who   died   in    335/948.     Suyuti,   fie   inter  p. 
Coranij  36] . 

(3)  Kindi,  519  :  Subki,  II,  174  :  Suyuti,  Husnid    Muhadcra  1,  186. 
An  exception  to  this  rule,  p.  203. 

(4)  Ibn  Sa'id,  Ed.  Tallquist,  24. 

(5)  Muk.,  202,  203. 

(6)  Suyuti,  Ilnmu'l  Mnhadcra  1,  212. 

(7)  Maqrizi,  Kliitat,  1,  341. 

(8)  Goldziher,  Lc  Livre  dc  Ibn  Townert,  23. 

(9)  Muk.,  236. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  215 

kept  the  government  fully  occupied.  With  intense  fierce- 
ness they  fought  the  Shi'ahs.  Whenever  the  latter  built 
a  mosque  there  was  tumult  and  riot/  In  323/935  the 
Malikites  assaulted  Shafi'ite  pedestrians  in  the  streets' 
but  they  reserved  their  fury  for  the  Shi'ahs  and  their  theo- 
logical foes.  Even,  according  to  Muqaddasi,  the  Shafi'ites 
were  decidedly  tho  most  quarrelsome  among  the  Jurists, 

People  in  these  matters  have  been  misled,  for  most  of 
the  information  regarding  them  comes  from  Shaft* ite 
sources.  One  thing  is  certain,  wherever  there  was  a 
juristic  squabble,  the  Shafi'ite  was  never  absent.  Othor 
disputants  change  and  come  to  terms  with  each  other. 

On  the  whole,  in  the  4th/10th  century,  the  schools 
behaved  very  well  towards  each  other.  The  learned- 
such  as  Muqaddasi — recommended  peace  and  concord 
(p.366).  The  change  from  one  school  to  another  was  still 
a  matter  of  no  great  moment. 

Ahmad  ibn  Fans  (d.  309/980)— the  most  notable 
philologer  of  his  day — went  over  from  the  Shfi'ite  to  the 
Malikite  school  out  of  indignation  at  the  fact  that  at  Rai 
where  he  resided  there  was  not  a  single  follower  of  this 
far-famed  school''.  At  Cairo  a  Shafi'ite  was  chosen  as 
Imam  of  the  Tulunid  mosque — a  position  held  hitherto  by 
the  Malikites — on  the  naive  ground  that  no  better  candi- 
date was  available/'  Even  Muqaddasi  assigns  purely 
personal  reasons  for  his  preference,  in  answer  to  the  quest- 
ion, asked  in  amazement,  why  he,a  Syrian,  whose  country- 
men are  Hanbalites  and  whose  jurists  Shafiites,  attached 
himself  to  the  Hanafite  school/ 


(1)  Wnz,  335. 

(2)  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  230. 

(3)  Yaqnt,  Ir&lwd,  11,7. 

(4)  Muk.,  203. 

(5)  Muk.,  127 


XV.    THK  QADI. 

Of  the  principle  of  the  separation  of  the  judicial  from 
the  executive,  Islam  thought  as  little  as  Christian  Europe 
till  the  most  recent  times.  Not  unlike  the  Prophet  the 
Caliph  was  the  supreme  judge  of  the  faithful.  In  the  Prov- 
inces the  Governors  exercised  this  power  for  him.  But 
their  manifold  duties  necessitated  help  in  this  direction  as 
is  reported  of  Mukhtar  :  in  the  beginning,  with  great  zeal 
and  talent,  he  personally  carried  on  the  judicial  work  until 
it  became  too  heavy  for  him  and  he  was  compelled  to 
appoint  Qadis  (Judges)/  And  precisely,  for  this  reason, 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  Qadi  was  never  definitely  defined 
or  rigidly  marked  off  from  that  of  the  Governor— the  latter 
rosorvoring  for  himself  all  that  "for  which  the  Qadi  was  too 
weak."  (Mawardi).  Should  the  Governor  refuse  to  accept 
the  decision  of  the  Qadi--cho  latter  had  no  alternative 
but  to  resign,  or  at  least  to  suspend  work.8  But  such 
a  contingency  was  of  rare  occurenco.  Kindi,  in  his 
History  of  the  Myyptian  Qadix,  records  only  two  such 
instances,  from  the  whole  of  the  first  centuries,  where  the 
decision  of  the  Qadi,  on  a  question  of  personal  law  was 
sot  aside  by  the  governor  :  one  of  these  involved  a  principle 
of  exceptional  importance''.  A  woman  had  married  one 
not  of  equal  birth.  Her  relatives  demanded  dissolution 
of  this  marriage  from  the  Qadi.  But  the  Qadi,  in  defiance 
of  the  command  of  the  governor,  refused  to  entertain  their 
request.  The  Governor,  thereupon,  parted  the  couple. 
Hero,  in  this  case,  two  principles  stood  face  to  face — the 
old  Arab-world  principle  of  aristocracy  and  the  Islamic 
one  of  democracy — which  rested  110  longer  on  blood  but  on 
faith  and  piety. 

In  accordance  with  the  defeudalization  of  the  Empire 
under  the  l  Abbasid  the  Qadi  was  removed  from  the  author- 
ity of  the  Governor  and  was,  now,  either  appointed  direct 
by  the  Caliph  or  at  least  confirmed  by  him*.  Mansur  was 
the  first  to  appoint  judges  at  the  capitals  of  the  Provinces5. 

[Ij  Wollhausen,  Die  religios-politischcn  oppositions — parteien  78. 
[2]  Khindi,  Qmlat,  ed,  Guest,  328,  356,  427.  [3]  Kindi,  367.  The  other 
instance  is  to  be  found  on  page  427.  [4]  Yaqubi,  II.  468.  [5]  The 
Qadi  of  Egypt,  appointed  by  Mansur  in  155/772  was  the  first  Qadi  of 
Egypt  to  be  appointed  directly  by  the  Caliph.  Kindi,  Qudat,  368. 
It  was  under  Al-Mahdi  that  the  first  Qadi,  sent  by  the  Caliph,  came  to 
Medina.  (Yaqubi,  ii,  484).  In  early  Islam  Judges  apparently  were 
appointed  by  the  Caliphs.  The  letter  of  'Omar  to  the  Qadis  and  officers, 
admits  of  such  a  construction. 


THE  EENAI88ANGE  OF  ISLAM  217 

as  illegally  appointed  inasmuch  as  he  was  not  appointed 
by  the  Caliph/  In  394/1004  the  otherwise  all-powerful 
Baha-ud-Daulah  wanted  to  make  the  registrar  (Naqib) 
of  the  'Alids  chief  judge,  but  as  the  Caliph  had  not  nomi- 
nated him  it  could  not  be  done2.  Among  the  few  surviv- 
ing prerogatives  of  the  Caliph — the  appointment  of  the 
Chief  Judge  in  Egypt  is  one  acknowledged  even  today/ 
Ever  since  the  days  of  the  first  'Abbasid  the  position  of  the 
Qadi  rose  in  importance.  Though  it  had,  hitherto,  been 
the  practice  for  the  Qadi  to  attend  the  governor's  levee—- 
the Qadi  appointed  by  Harun  in  177/793  replied  to  the 
invitation  of  the  Amir  in  so  insulting  a  style  that  "  the 
practice  was  done  away  with''."  In  the  3rd/9th  century, 
things  having  changed,  the  governors  are  said  to  have 
waited  upon  the  Qadis5,  until  the  year  321/933  when 
Qadi  Harbawaihi,  being  too  proud  to  rise  to  receive  them, 
the  Governors  dropped  the  practice.  (Suyuti,  Husnul 
Muhadera,  II,  101  ;  supplement  to  Kindi,  528).  A  similar 
story  is  related  of  the  Wazir  Ibn  Abbad.  The  Qadi  of 
Baghdad  refusing  to  rise  to  receive  him,  the  Wazir  offered 
his  hand  to  help  him  in  getting  up.  (Yaqut,  Irshad  II, 
339.  But  this  story  is  related  of  another  also).  This 
Qadi  was  a  prince  of  justice.  He  refused  the  title  of  Amir 
to  the  Governor  and  always  addressed  him  by  name  and 
in  a  case  before  him  he  called  upon  the  powerful  field- 
marshal  Munis  to  produce  testimoney  from  the  Caliph  to 
the  fact  that  the  Caliph  had  emancipated  him  and  that  he 
was  no  longer  the  Caliph's  slave.  He  was  a  great  stickler 
for  dignity.  No  one  ever  saw  him  eat  or  drink  or  wash  his 
hand  or  sneeze  or  spit,  or  even  pass  his  hand  across  his 
face.  All  this  he  did  in  private.  He  decided  cases  wholly 
according  to  his  inner  light — without  reference  to  any 
parcticular  school  of  law — a  thing  which  would  have  been 
greatly  resented  in  others.  His*  learning  was  indisputable. 
No  suspicion  of  corruption  ever  rested  on  his  name.6  When 
someone  once  laughed,  during  the  hearing  of  a  case,  the 
Qadi  called  him  to  order  in  a  voice  which  filled  the  room  : 
"  What  art  thou  laughing  at  in  the  court  of  God  where 
the  matter  against  thee  is  proceeding  ?  Laughest  thou 

(1)  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II.  113  ff.  (2)  Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.  141  b:  Ibn 
al-Athir,  IX,  129.  (3)  Gottheil,  The  Qadi.  SA  of  EEBS  1908.  7, 
note  3.— This  is  of  course  no  longer  the  case  (1929)  Tr.  (4)  Kindi,  388. 
The  only  two  attempts  to  make  the  Qadi  at  the  same  time  governor 
are  :  (a)  the  appointment  of  the  Spanish  Qadi  Asad  who  died  in  213  and 
(b)  that  of  Sarh  ibn  'Abdullah  under  Al-Mahdi  (158-169)  Kit.  al'uyun, 
372.  (6)  Wustenfeld,  AGGXX,  37  Nr.  91.  [6]  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  302, 
ff :  supplement  tq^Kindi^  628. 


218  THE  EENAI88ANCE  OF  ISLAM 

when  the  Qadi  trembles  between  heaven  and  hell  ? 
The  Qadi .  so  terrified  the  offender  that  he  lay  ill  for  three 
months/  The  Baghdad!  Qadi  al  Isfraini  (d.  406/1015) 
could  say  to  the  Caliph  Qadir  that  he  dare  not  dismiss  him. 
On  the  contrary  he — the  Qadi— need  only  write  to  Khora- 
san  to  shake  the  Caliph's  throne*.  It  is,  indeed,  indicative 
of  respect  for  the  judicial  post  that  while,  about  that  time, 
we  often  and  often  hear  of  princes  and  wazirs  languishing 
in  jail — we  hear  of  but  few  such  instances  from  the  judicial 
circles.  Only  one  Qadi  is  said  to  have  died  in  jail  and  this 
one,  Abu  Umayyah,  was  an  exception.  He  was  not  a 
trained  lawyer  but  a  dealer  in  cambric.  When  a  reverse  of 
fortune  had  overtaken  Ibn  al-Furat  he  concealed  himself 
at  Abu  Umayyah's  house  and,  while  in  concealment,  he 
promised  him  a  Government  post — should  he  again  become 
wazir.  Ibn  al-Furat  became  wazir  for  the  second  time 
and  Abu  Umayyah  had  to  be  provided  with  an  important 
post,  but  he  lacked  qualification  for  a  governorship,  for 
the  collectorship  of  income-tax,  for  the  head-ship  of  police. 
The  jovial  wazir,  therefore,  made  him  the  Qadi  of  the  great 
towns  of  Basra,  Wasit,  Ahwas  to  spite  the  jurists.  The 
new  Qadi  was  simple  and  honest,  two  qualities  which 
atoned  for  his  ignorance.  He  behaved  very  coldly  towards 
the  Governor  and  never  paid  his  respects  to  him,  with  the 
result  that  as  soon  as  the  news  of  the  fall  of  the  Wazir 
reached  Basra  the  Governor  forthwith  put  him  in  jail;7 

Theoretically  the  jurists  did  not  look  approvingly  upon 
the  office  of  the  judge.  Even  in  the  4th/10th  century 
Samarqandi  (d.  375/985)  tells  us'':  "On  the  question  of  the 
acceptance  of  a  judicial  post  there  is  no  unanimity  of 
opinion.  Some  maintain  that  it  should  not  be  accepted  ; 
while  others  that  it  may  be,  provided  it  has  not  been  sought 
or  striven  for."  They  reported  fearful  denunciations  of  the 
Prophet  even  against  a  righteous  judge.5 

A  man  whom  the  Caliph  '  Omar  I,  desired  to  appoint 
Qadi  in  Egypt  rejected  the  suggestion  on  the  ground  that 
'  God  had  not  rescued  us  from  heathenism  and  its  evil 
ways  to  go  back  to  themV  When  in  A.  H.  70/689  a 
Qadi  was  appointed  for  Egypt — his  father,  hearing  of  the 
appointment,  said  '  May  God  help  us  !  The  man  is  lost7. ' 


(1)    Subki,    II,    306.    (2)  Subki,    III,    26    :  AGGW,  87   Nr,  287. 

(3)  Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol.     7  b.     The  news  came  through  the   pigeon-post. 

(4)  Bustan  al-'arifin,   38.      (5)     Ibn   Khali.     1,   135  note  5  :   Mishkat, 
(Eng.  tr.)   221  Tr.  (6)  Kindi,  302.    This  does  not  agree  with  a  statement 
above  that   Mansur  was  the  first  Caliph   to  appoint  provincial  judges 
Tr.    (7)  Kindi,  Qudat,  316, 


r£tiE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  219 

I  am  not  aware  how  the  early  Christians  looked  upon 
this  question,  but  Islam  manifestly  clung  to  the  principle 
of  '  Judge  not '  of  the  Sermon  on  the  mount.  We  are 
told  how  pious  people  hurried  away  from  Mesopotamia 
across  Syria  to  Arabia  to  escape  their  threatened  appoint- 
ment as  judges:  such,  among  others,  where  Sufyan  Thauri, 
who  died  in  concealment,  and  Abu  Hanifa  who  inspite  of 
the  lash,  would  not  accept  a  judgeship/  According  to 
Tabari,  the  traditions  taught  by  Abu  Yusuf  were  suspect, 
because  he  was  a  friend  of  a  Qadi2.  Under  Al-Mahdi  the 
Qadi  of  Medina  was  made  to  accept  the  post  by  public 
flogging." 

And  yet  about  this  very  time  the  Qadi  Sharik,  having 
received  a  draft  on  the  court-banker  for  his  services,  insist- 
ed on  being  paid  in  coin  of  full  weight;  and  when  the  banker 
told  him  that,  after  all  the  difference  would  not  suffice  to 
buy  him  a  suit  of  clothes,  he  answered  u  And  yet  I  gave 
for  it  something  better  than  a  suit  of  clothes  ;  I  gave  up 
for  it  my  religious  convictions.*  " 

A  savant  is  even  said  to  have  feigned  madness  to  avoid 
appointment  to  the  post  of  a  Qadi.5 

In  striking  contrast  to  the  Qadis  (representatives  of 
the  lllm  ed-dunya]  stand  the  sufis.  On  the  day  of  Judg- 
ment the  true  savant  will  rise  from  the  dead  with  the 
Prophet— the  Qadi,  however,  with  the  wielders  of  temporal 
power.  Isma'il  ibn  Ishaq  was  a  friend  of  tho  Sufi  Abu'l- 
Hasan  ibn  Abi'1-Ward.  When  Isma'il  became  Qadi, 
the  latter  broke  off  his  friendship  with  him.  Summoned 
as  witness  before  him  Abu'l-Hasan  put  his  hand  on  Ismail's 
shoulder  and  said  :  Oh  Isma'il  !  the  knowledge  which  has 
borne  thee  here  is  worse  than  ignorance.6  Isma'il  drew 
his  mantle  over  his  face  and  wept  until  the  mantle  became 
wet. 

The  Hanafites  were  the  first  to  yield  to  the  exigencies 
of  the  age.  At  least  the  Shafi'ite  Ibn  Khairan  (d.  310/922) 
thus  taunted  a  colleague  on  his  appointment  as  Qadi  : 
Only  the  Hanafites  accept  such  offices  1  The  critic  himself 
had  refused  the  Qadiship  of  Baghdad.  A  guard,  accord- 


(l)  Bustan  al-'arifin  30 :  other  instances  in  Kushf  al-Mahjiib, 
tr.  by  Nicholson,  93.  (2)  Ibn  Khali,  Nr.  834.  (3)  See  the  life  of 
lyas  al-Qadi  in  Ibn  Khali  (Eng.  tr.),  Vol,  I,  232.  Two  men'rrefuse  to 
act  as  judges.  Tr.  (±)  Ibn  Khali  Tr.  290.  (Eng.  tr.  Vol  I.  p. 
23  TrJ.  (5)  Further  examples,  Amedroz.  Office  of  the  Kadi  in  the 
Ahkam  Sultaniyya,  JBAS  1910,  775.  (6)  Makki,  1.  157. 


220  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLA M 

ingly,   was  placed   at  his  house  by  the  Wazir  where  he  was 
kept  confined '. 

But  even  the  chief  of  the  Hanafite  school — Al-Razi. 
(d.  370/980)— twice  refused  the  office  of  chief  judge." 
Indeed,  up  to  the  end  of  the  4th/10th  century  convention 
demanded  but  a  hesitating  acceptance  of  the  Qadi's  post. 

On  the  appointment  of  a  new  judge  in  399/1009  a  poet 
sings  : 

"I  have  been  compelled,  says  the  one— the  other,  (the 
dismissed  one)  :  Now,  I  can  breathe.  Both  lie.  Who 
can  believe  all  this*?" 

The  question  whether  a  Qadi  should  accept  a  salary 
was  very  keenly  debated.  'Omar  1  is  said  to  have  for- 
bidden it7' .  Th  Hanafite  jurist  Al-Hassaf  (d.  261/874) 
seeks  to  establish  the  contrary  proposition  by  sayings  of 
the  Prophet  and  examples  from  the  early  times.5  The 
Qadi  Ibn  al-Hujairah,  appointed  in  Egypt  in  70/689,  got 
an  annual  salary  of  200  dinars  (about  2,000  marks). 
But  in  addition  to  this  appointment,  he  held  the  posts  of 
treasurer  and  state-preacher.  Each  of  these  offices  brought 
him  200  dinars  a  year.  Over  and  above  these  he  received 
a  gratuity  of  200  dinars  and  a  pension  of  equal  amount — 
making  up  an  annual  income  of  1,000  dinars  (that  is,  10,000 
marks).6  Even  in  the  year  131/748  the  Judge  of  the 
Egyptian  Captain  drew  a  salary  of  20  dinars  a  month 
(about  200  marks).7  But  this  amount  obviously  was  not 
sufficient  for  the  up-keep  of  his  office  and  staff. 

Of  his  10,000  marks  the  above-mentioned  Ibn  Hujairah 
hardly  had  anything  left  by  the  end  of  the  year.8 

A  man  turned  up  at  the  meal-time  of  the  Qadi  of  Fustat 
(appointed  in  90/709).  The  meal  consisted  of  old  lentils, 
served  on  a  rush  mat,  biscuit  and  water.  Bread  he  could 
not  afford,  said  the  Qadi/0  The  Qadi  of  Fustat,  appointed 
in  120/736,  carried  on  an  oil-trade,  along  with  his  judicial 
work.  When  a  young  friend  in  astonishment  questioned 
him  about  it,  he  put  his  hand  on  his  shoulder  and  said  : 


(I)  AGGW  37,  Nr.  81.  Similar  had  been  the  fate  of  Ibn  Suraij 
[d.  305/919]  who  had  formerly  beer,  the  Qadi  of  Shiraz  [Subki.  II,  92]. 
According  to  Subki  the  confinement  of  Ibn  Khairan  was  a  mere  sham. 
According  to  the  Egyptian  historian  Ibn  Zulaq  [d.  387/998]  people  looked 
at  the  sealed  door  and  pointed  it  out  to  their  children.  Stibki,  II,  214. 
[2]  Jauzi,  fol.  118  a.  [3]  Ibn  Taghribardi,  103:  Janzi,  fol,  adab  al-qadi. 
Leiden,  550,  fol.  25  a.  [6]  Kindi,  317.  [7]  Kindi,  354.  [8]  Kindi, 
317.  [9]  Kirdi,  331. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  221 

"Wait  until  thou  feelest  hunger  through  other  stomachs 
than  your  own."  The  young  man  only  recognised  its  mean- 
ing when  he  had  his  own  children  to  bring  up.' 

The  Egyptian  Qadi  (appointed  in  144/761)  was  ex- 
tremely scrupulous  about  his  pay.  "When  he  washed  his 
clothes,  attended  a  funeral,  or  did  some  other  private  work 
of  his  own,  he  reckoned  the  time  so  taken  and  made  a 
deduction  therefor  from  his  pay."  Along  with  his  judicial 
work  he  worked  as  a  bridle-maker  and  daily  made  two.  He 
used  the  sale-proceeds  of  one  for  himself ;  while  that  of  the 
other  he  remitted  to  his  friends  in  Alexandria  who  were 
fighting  the  infidels  there2. 

The  'Abbasids,  who  conferred  a  higher  and  independ- 
ent status  on  the  Qadi,  placed  him  also  financially  in  a 
better  position.  Thus  the  Qadi  in  Egypt,  now  received  a 
monthly  salary  of  30  dinars''.  Of  this  sum,  at  least  under 
Mahdi,  a  third  was  paid  iu  kind  ;  namely,  in  honey''. 
In  the  liberal  days  of  Mam'un  the  Egyptian  Qadl  drew 
from  the  governor  a  monthly  salary  of  168  dinars  (1680 
marks).5  He  was  the  first  to  draw  as  much.  When 
Tahir — noted  for  his  generosity — came  to  Egypt  and 
appointed  a  Qadi — he  allowed  him  seven  dinars  a  day 
(70  marks) — "which  is  the  judged  pay  to-day."'j  ''Be- 
fore his  appointment  the  Qadi  of  Aleppo  had  been  a  poor 
man  who  had  struggled  with  poverty,  accepting  it  with 
resignation  from  God  and  rating  it  higher  than  riches. 
When  I  met  him  in  309/9^1  as  Qadi  of  Aleppo  he  was  a 
changed  man  who  exalted  wealth  over  poverty.  I  learnt 
that  he  gave  to  his  wife  on  one  single  occassion  40  pieces 
of  cloth  from  Tustar  (Persia)  and  other  valuable  stuff."7 

To  prevent  unjust  acquisition  of  wealth  on  the  part  of 
the  judge — the  Caliph  Al-Hakim  doubled  his  pay  on  con- 
dition that  he  did  not  accept  a  single  dirham  from  the 
people.8  In  the  5tb/llth  .century  the  Persian  traveller 
Nasir  Khusru  states  that  the  Egyptian  chief  Qadi  drew  a 
monthly  salary  of  2,000  dinars — the  supplement  to  Kindi 
also  mentions  his  annual  income  to  be  over  20,000  dinars.0 

(1)  Kindi,  362.  [2]  Kindi,  363.  [3]  Kindi,  378.  (4)  Kindi,  378. 
[5]  Kindi,  421.  According  to  page  435  it  was  163:  according  to  page  507. 
his  successor  also  received  168  dinars  from  Mntawakkil.  (6)  Kindi,  435. 
Th3  amount  is  differently  given.  Subki,  II,  302,  reports,  according  to  Ibn 
Zulaq  [d.  386/998],  that  the  Qadi  Harbawaihi  of  Egypt,  who  retired  from 
office  in  321/933,  only  had  a  salary  of  20  dinars  a  month — an  amount 
which  corresponds  with  the  oldest  arrangement.  (7)  Mas'udi,  VIII,  189  f. 
(8)  Kindi  597.  (9)  Guest,  613.  The  50,000  mentioned  on  p.  499  must  be 
understood  to  bo  inclusive  of  his  illicit  again.  The  Fatimid  budget  in  Maq- 
rizi's  Khitat,  I,  398,  assigns  only  100  dinars  a  month  as  the  qadi's  salary. 


222  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  East  also  the  Qadi  was  paid  from  the  State- 
treasury  (Kit.  al-Kharaj,  115).  But  it  is  also  stated  that, 
either  because  of  the  insufficiency  of  pay  or  for  reasons 
of  conscience,  the  Qadi  refused  to  draw  his  salary.  The 
latter  probably  was  the  case.  Hasan  ibn  'Abdullah,  a 
famous  calligraphcr,  who,  for  fifty  years,  had  been  the 
Qadi  of  the  great  commercial  town  of  Siraf  (d.  369/978) 
made  a  living  as  a  copyist7.  Under  Mahdi  the  Qadi  of 
Medina  refused  to  accept  salary  for  his  post,  "He  did 
not  wish  to  be  enriched  by  the  hateful  post.'^ 

The  Malikite  chief  judge  of  Baghdad,  appointed  in 
303/915,  made  the  following  conditions  on  taking  office  : 
That  he  would  accept  no  salary  ;  that  he  would  not  be 
compelled  to  pass  an  illegal  order  ;  that  he  would,  in  no 
way,  be  approached  on  behalf  of  any  one/  'Ali  ibn  al- 
Muhasin  et-Tanuklii  (d.  447/1055),  Qadi  of  some  of  the 
districts  of  Mesopotamia,  and  superintendent  of  the  mint 
at  Baghdad,  received  only  60  dinars  a  month  as  pay/' 

In  334/945  robbers  broke  into  the  house  of  a  quondam 
Qadi  of  Baghdad.  As  he  was  poor  they  did  not  find  much 
and  so  they  wanted  to  extort  money  by  violence.  The 
poor  man  lied  to  the  roof,  threw  himself  down,  and  was 
killed.5  In  352/963  the  chief  judge  of  Baghdad  received 
no  pay.6'  The  Baghdad  Qadi  Abu  Tayyib  (d.  450/1058) 
had  only  a  turban  and  a  coat  between  himself  and  his 
brother — when  one  A\cnt  out,  the  other  stayed  at  home.7 
Even  the  chief  judge  of  Baghdad,  who  died  in  488/1095, 
lived  on  the  rent  of  a  House.  It  brought  in  1J  dinar 
(about  15  marks)  a  month.  He  used  a  linen  turban,  a 
coat  of  coarse  cotton,  lived  on  crumbs  soaked  in  water.8 
And  a  Spanish  Qadi  similarly  lived  on  the  produce  of 
land  he  cultivated/' 

In  1852  Peterman  reports  from  Damascus  :  Every 
year  a  new  Qadi  is  sent  from  Constantinople,  chosen  by 
the  shaikh  ul-Islam.  In  the  event  of  a  death  he  receives 
a  fixed  share  (I  am  told  i  which  is,  indeed,  too  much) 
from  the  inheritance  and  5  per  cent  on  the  value  of 
every  suit  he  decides.  This  is  the  amount  payable  by 
every  subject  of  of  the  Porte  for  a  law- suit  (should  he  lose 
it).  The  European  subjects  pay  only  2  per  cent.70 

[1]  Hanrt,  Calligr.  IT  [2]  Tarikh  Baghadnd,  JEAS,  1912,  54. 
[3]  Kindi,  573,  Jauzi,  fol.  105  b:  cf.  Snbki,  III,  84.  [4]  Yaqufc,  Irshad,  V, 
302.  [5]  JnuzijS  a.  [6]  Misk,  VI  257.  [7]  Ibn  Khal,  Nr.  306.  [8]  Subki 
III,  84.  [9]  Ibn  Bashkuwal,  Bibl.  his  arab  I,  60  [10]  Beise  in  orient,  98 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  223 

In  modern  Morocco  the  Qadi,  as  a  religious  officer,  is 
paid  out  of  pious  endowments.  But  as  such  payment  is 
rare,  they  fall  back  upon  presents  from  the  parties.1 

In  350/961  the  office  of  the  chief  judge  at  Baghdad  was 
auctioned  for  200,000  dirhams  a  yea.r  for  the  benefit  of  the 
Amir's  treasury.'  The  first  purchaser  combined  "  an 
ugly  figure  with  an  ugly  conduct."  They  imputed  the 
vices  of  pederasty,  licentiousness  and  drink  to  him.*  But 
thing  did  not  pass  off  quite  smoothly  for  him.  The  Caliph 
refused  to  receive  him  and  two  years  later  lie  was  removed 
from  office.  His  successor  set  aside  all  his  judgments  on 
the  ground  that  he  had  bought  his  office.  (Misk,  VI, 
249  ;  Ibn  al-Athir,  VIII,  399,  407).  For  the  Prefect  of 
police,  see,  Misk  (Eng.tr.),  Vol.  V.  p.  42 ;  for  his  pay, 
Vol.  V.  205. 

Already  the  Qadi  Taubah  (d.  120/738)  had  laid  his 
hands  on  pious  endowments  which  earlier  were  adminis 
tered  either  by  the  donor  or  his  heirs.  On  his  death  the 
pious  endowments  had  become  an  important  branch  of 
administration/'  In  addition  to  the  pious  endowments 
the  Qadi  was  put  in  charge  of  the  estates  and  effects  of 
orphans  which,  since  133/751,  had  been  placed  under  the 
control  of  the  treasury,  a  receipt  being  granted  therefor.'5 
In  389/999,  on  the  death  of  the  Cairene  Qadi,  a  deficit  of 
36,000  dinars  was  shown  in  the  accounts  of  the  orphans. 
There  was  a  severe  and  searching  enquiry.  At  the  instance 
of  the  Caliph  a  Christian  officer  pursued  and  seized  the 
properties  of  the  Qadi  and  his  assessors  (the  most  in- 
fluential believers  of  the  towiO,  but  only  half  of  the  amount 
was  recovered.  Since  then  all  orphans'  money  carne  in 
into  the  treasury  in  a  chest  sealed  by  four  assessors  to  be 
opened  in  the  presence  of  them  all.6' 

Only  in  the  4th/10th  century  was  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
Qadi  in  matters  of  inheritance  definitely  settled.  Finally 
he  supervised  the  prisons  of  civil  debts  within  his  juris- 
diction, in  contrast  to  the  police  prisons  (Habs  al-Ma'unah). 

In  402/1011  on  the  first  night  of  the  Fast  the  Wazir 
inspected  the  prisons  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Qadi  of 


[1]  Eevue  du  monde  Musulman,  XIII,  517.  (See  also  Burton's 
East  Africa,  1,  88,  Tr.)  (2)  Misk,  VI,  249.  Eng,  tr.  V,  205.  (3) 
Tadhkirah  of  Ibn  Hamdun,  in  Amedroz,  JKAS,  1910.  p.  783.  Passion 
for  boys  was  regarded  as  a  special  vice  of  the  Qadis  (Yatimah*  II,  218, 
Mahadarat  al-Udaba,  1,125:  Mustatraf,  II,  199).  The  chief  Qadi  of 
Mam'un  was  a  notorious  pederast.  Bhuturi  charges  the  chief  Qadi  Ibn 
Abil-Shawarib  with  the  same  vice  (Diwom,  II,  175).  (4)  Kindi,  346. 
(5)  Kindi  355.  (6)  Supplement  to  Kindi,  Guest,  595. 


224  TH.K  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Bhagdad.  Whowever  was  imprisoned  for  one  to  ten  dinars 
was  released,  but  \vh<  ever  was  indebted  lor  more  was 
released  for  the  festival  on  the  Wazir  standing  bail  for  his 
return  after  the  festival.' 

Tickets  Iftiqa),  bearing  the  names  of  plaintiffs  and  de- 
fendants, with  those  of  their  respective  fathers,  were  used 
in  calling  out  cases.  The  clerk  of  the  court  collected  them 
before  the  court's  work  began  and  the  judge  disposed  of 
some  fifty  cases,  on  an  average,  per  day/  The  court 
work  was  conducted  with  absolute  publicity.  When  the 
Caliph  lets  a  caso  be  tried  in  his  palace  the  Qadi  has  the 
doors  opened  and  lets  the  public  in.  And,  thus,  in  the 
presence  of  all,  the  court -carrier,  according  to  the  tickets, 
called  out  the  parties.1' 

And  precisely  for  this  reason  the  Qadi  originally  sat  in 
the  chief  mosque  leaning  against  a  pillar — the  chief  mosque 
being  a  public  place,  open  to  the  entire  Muslim  community/' 
The  Qadi  could  also  hear  cases  at  home.  And  thus  the 
Qadi  of  Egypt,  appointed  in  120/738,  heard  cases  in  room 
overlooking  the  street,  over  the  porch  of  liifc  house,  while 
the  parties  down  below  discussed  matters  among  them- 
selves:'1 

Indignant  at  his  injustice  the  Egyptians  flung  the 
praying  carpet  of  the  Qadi,  appointed  in  201/918,  out  of 
the  mosque  into  the  street  ;  after  that  this  Qadi  decided 
cases  at  home  and  never  came  to  the  mosque  again.6 
The  Egyptian  Qadi,  appointed  in  219-834,  sat  in  winter 
in  the  porch  of  the  chief  mosque,  leaning  against  the  wall 
with  his  back  towards  Mekka.  "He  would  not  let  any 
official  approach  him. 

Even  his  clerks  and  the  parties  were  allowed  only  to  sit 
at  a  certain  distance  from  him.  Ho  was  the  first  to  intro- 
duce this  rule.  In  summer  he  sat  in  the  courtyard  of  the 
mosque  by  the  western  wall.7 

About  the  middle  of  the  3rd/9th  century  the  orthodox 
reaction  regarded  the  use  of  the  mosque  as  the  court  of  the 
Qadi  as  a  desecration  of  God's  House  and  forbade  it.8 
But  this  prohibition  was  ineffectual.  About  320/932  the 
chief  judge  heard  cases  at  his  Itouse'0  and  in  Egypt  now 

at  the  mosque  and  now  at  his  house.    A  Qadi  (d.  407/1016) 

^__ * 

(1)  Jauzi,  Berlin,  •  fol.  157  b.  In  the  police  prison  he  set  at  liberty 
offenders  imprisoned  for  slight  offences.  (2)  Al  Hassaf  (d,  261/874J, 
Adab  al-Qadi  Leiden,  554,  fol.  9  a.  (3)  Baihaqi,  ed.  Schwally,  633. 
(4)  Aghani,  X,  123.  (5)  Kindi,  351.  (6)  Kindi  428,  (7)  Kindi,  443, 
(8^  Abu'l-Mahasin,  II,  86.  (9)  Sabki,  Tabaqat,  II,  194 


THE    RENAISSANCE  OF   ISLAM  <2*25 

at  Nisapur,  immediately  on  the  announcement  of  his  ap- 
pointment, was  taken  to  the  place  set  apart  in  the  mosque 
for  the  judge/  And  Ma'airi  complains  that  there  are 
robbers  not  only  in  the  desert  but  also  in  the  mosques  and 
the  bazars  :*  only  these  are  named  assessors  and  merchants/ 
OD  another  occasion  lie  calls  the  assessors  "Beduins  of 
the  towns  and  mosques."1 

During  the  Fatimid  period  the  chief  Qadi  of  Cairo 
sat  on  Tuesdays  and  Saturdays  in  the  wing  of  the  mosque 
of  'Amr  ibn  al-As  on  a  dais  with  a  silken  cushion.  To  the 
right  and  the  left  of  him  sat  the  assessors  according  to 
seniority.  In  front  of  him  sat  five  court  servants  and  four 
court  clerks,  facing  each  other  in  twos.  A  silver  inkpot 
from  the  citadel  treasury5  was  placed  before  him. 

In  the  earlier  days  the  parties  conducted  their  business 
before  the  Qadi  standing.  When,  under  the  Omayyads, 
a  prince  of  that  dynasty  refused  to  stand  and  do  business 
before  the  Qadi,  he  was  compelled  to  withdraw  his  suit.6 
Later  was  introduced  the  practice  of  sitting  in  a  row  before 
the  Qadi.  When  the  Caliph  Mahdi  had  a  law-suit  with  his 
mother,  a  Qadi  from  Egypt  was  brought  to  Baghdad. 
The  queen-mother  appointed  a  representative  on  her  be- 
half and,  at  the  trial,  the  Qadi  required  the  Caliph  to  take 
his  seat  among  the  litigants.  Whereupon  Mahdi  stepped 
down  from  his  seat  and  sat  in  front  of  the  Judge.7  When 
the  Caliph  Ma'mun — so  an  old  authority  relates — ap- 
peared as  a  suitor  before  the  Qadi  and  took  his  seat  on  a 
carpet,  the  Qadi  intimated  that  the  opposite  party  too 
should  be  supplied  with  one.8  Arid  when  the  representa- 
tive of  the  powerful  Zubaida — wife  of  Harun — sat  im- 
pudently at  the  trial  of  a  case  before  an  Egyptian  Qadi 
he  had  him  laid  on  the  ground  and  ordered  ten  stripes  to 
be  administered  to  him.9 

The  theorists  discussed  all  kinds  of  things  calculated 
to  affect  the  partiality  of  a  judge.  Should  the  parties 
greet  the  judge?  If  they  did  so,  should  not  the  Qadi 
respond  to  the  'Peace  on  thee'  as  is  the  practice,  not  "  on 
thee  be  peace  "  but  only  "on  thee"?  To  say  "  peace  " 
would  be  an  improper  anticipation  of  events/0 

And  the  pious  theory  similarly  declaimed  against  any 
influence  that  the  judge  might  seek  to  bring  to  bear  on  the 


(1)  Subki,  JI,  113.  (2)  Subki,  III,  59.  (3)  Von  Kremer,  ZDMG, 
XXX,  49.  (4)  ZDMG,  XXXI,  478,  (5)  Maqrizi,  Khitat.  1,  403. 
(6)  Kindi,  256.  (7)  Kindi,  357  (8)  Baihaqi,  538.  (9)  Kindi,  392. 
(10)  Al-Haasaf  (d.  261/874) :  K.  Adah  al  Qadi,  Leyden,  fol.  22.  a. 


226  THE  MENAIfiRANCE   OF    ISLAM 

parties.     He  shcmld  not   shout  at  them   nor  is  he  to   force 
.them  to  give  any  definite  answer. 

By  reason  of  these  theories  and  of  the  difHculty  in 
getting  money  from  an  Egyptian — Egyptian  witticism 
has  invented  the  story  of  a  Qadi  who  fastened  two  horns 
to  his  cap  to  give  a  dig  therewith  to  the  obstinate  and  re- 
fractory suitor  (au-nattali).  Tho  Caliph  Hakim,  hearing 
this,  reproached  the  Qadi  for  it.  Thereupon  the  Qadi 
invited  the  Caliph  to  take  his  seat  behind  the  curtain  of  the 
court-room  to  be  convinced  of  the  perversity  of  the  people. 
The  Caliph  came.  Two  litigants  presented  themselves 
before  tho  Qadi  -  one  claiming  100  dinars  from  the  other. 
The  Qadi  suggested  a  monthly  instalment  of  10  dinars. 
The  debtor  objected.  Then  ho  suggested  an  instalment 
of  5  dinars  a  month  ;  then  2 ;  then  1  ;  then  .J.  The  debtor, 
finally,  proposed  :  UJ  will  pay  \  of  a  dinar  every  year  but 
I  wish  the  plaintiff  to  be  put  in  jail  for,  if  he  is  free  and  J 
fail  to  carry  out  my  promise,  he  will  simply  kill  mr." 
Hakim  enquired  of  the  Qadi  :  'How  many  blows  had  he 
given  the  man'  ?  Only  one,  replied  the  Qadi.  Give 
him  two  more,  commanded  the  Caliph,  or  give  him  one 
and  I  will  give  the  other.7 

The  Qadi  wore  the  black  colour  of  the  'Abbasid  oflic- 
ials.  The  Egyptian  Qadi,  appointed  in  108/784,  used 
a  thin  black  band  round  his  long  cap2 ;  the  Qadi  who  acted 
from  237/851  a  black  mantle  (7u,sa)  but,  this,  indeed,  only 
when  it  was  pointed  out  to  him  that  he  would,  otherwise, 
be  mistaken  for  a  partisan  of  the  Omayyads/  In  the 
course  of  the  3rd/9th  century  the  high  conical  hat — qalan- 
suwah,  called  danuiyali  "pot-hat"  like  tho  English  top-hat- 
became  the  official  head  gear  of  the  judges.'  It  was 
used  along  with  the  Tailaaaii.  When  the  85  year  old  Qadi 
Ahmad  at-Tanukhi  resigned  his  post  as  judge  he  said  : 
he  would  like  an  interval  between  service  and  the  grave. 
He  would  not  go  straight  from  the  Qalamuwali  to  the 
grave.'5  A  Qadi  without  the  Qalansuwali  has  been 
likened  to  a  glorified  clerk.6  In  368/978  an  accused 
woman  was  frightened  at  the  sight  of  a  Qadi  with  a  beard 
a  yard  long  and  a  face  and  a  top-hat  of  equal  length.  To 

fl)  do  Sacy.  Rcliyion  des  Druse*,  CCCCXXVIII  (2)  Kindi,  378. 
(3)  Kindi,  469.  The  Qadi  of  Cordova  at  the  time  of  the  Caliph  Al- 
Hakam  sat  in  court,  like  a  fop,  in  a  yellow  mantle  and  with  parted 
hair.  Ajhar  MaJikumak,  127:  Bayan  al-Maghrib  (tr.  by  FagnanJ 
128.  (4)  4f//mn/,  X,  123  frxhad,  1,373:  VI,  209:  Hamadani,  Rasa'il, 
168:  Supplement  to  Kindi,  58(>.  (See  Khnda  Bakhsh,  Mamie  Giviliza- 
tion,  Vol.  I,  pp.  96-97  Tr.)  (5)  Yaqut,  Irshad>l,  192.  (6)  Shabushti 
Berlin,  fo  81  a. 


THE   RKNA1SSANCE  OF   ISLAM  227 

quiet  her  the  Qadi  removed  his  hat  and  covered  his  beard 
with  his  sleeve  and  said:  1  have  done  away  with  two  yards, 
now  answer  the  charge  preferred  against  yon/ 

The  Fatimid  Qadis  carried  the  sword  (Kindi,  589  596, 
597). 

About  300/912  the  staff  of  the  Qadi's  court  consisted 
of: — 

1.  The  clerk  (katib),  salary  300  dirhams  a  month. 

2.  Tho  court  usher  (Ha jib),   salary   130  dirhams  a 
month. 

3.  The  Munsif  deciding  cases  at  the  gateway  of  the 
court,  salary  100  dirhams  a  month. 

4.  Superintendent    of   the    court    premises    and   the 
polico   (*A\van),    monthly    salary  600    dirhams  collectively 
(Kindi,  574;  Jauzi,  fol.  105  b). 

To  these  was  added,  since  the  time  of  the  Caliph 
AUMansur.  the  most  remarkable  of  legal  institutions- -a 
permanent  body  of  "witnesses".  Al  Kindi' s  excellent 
authority  tells  us:u  Formerly  only  witnesses  known  to  be  of 
good  repute  were  accepted.  Others  were  either  openly  re- 
jected or,  in  case  they  were  absolutely  unknown,  inquiries 
were  made  regarding  them  from  thoir  neighbours.  But 
now,  as  there  is  such  a  lot  of  falno  swearing,  secret  inquiries 
are  made  regarding  the  witnesses;  that  is  to  say,  a  list 
of  men,  fit  to  be  called  as  witnesses  is  prepared.  The 
result  is  that  not  reliability  but  inclusion  in  the  prepared 
list  is  now  the  passport  to  the  witness-box;  the  word 
'witness'  (fihahid)  signifying  such  a  definite  individual 
(Kindi,  301)." 

An  official  list  of  these  witnesses  was  drawn  up  at  the 
instance  of  the  Qadi  appointed  in  185/801;  a  practice 
which  has  continued  up  to  the  present  day.  People  made 
fun  of  this  judge  for  admitting  100  Egyptians  (non-, 
Arabs)  into  this  list  n.nd  for  removing  30  old  ones  and  re- 
placing them  by  as  many  Persians  (Kindi,  396).  From 
among  these  witnesses  were  chosen  the  fixed  number  of 
assessors  (hi  tan  ah)  who  assisted  the  judge  in  his  work. 

(1)  Dhahabi  TariM  al-Mam,  JBAB,  1911,  659  note  1.  In  the  first 
half  of  the  4th/10th  century  the  Egyptian  Qadis  had  to  use  a  hiue 
Tailasan  (Shabushti,  Kit.  ed.  D///arat,  fol.  131  a).  Even  at  Baghdad  a 
Qadi,  about  400/1009  used  this  kind  of  blue  Tatla&an  (a  cover  for  the 
neck).  Yaqut  7r.s7irtd,  V,  261.  Even  the  assessors  used  the  long  black 
hat.  A  poet  of  the  4th/10th  century,  thus,  mockingly  refers  to  them, 
11  On  their  top-hats  sits  the  wingless  raven  of  Noah.  Muhaderat  al- 
Udaba,  1,  129, 


228  THE   RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Every  six  months — so  ruled  the  Qadi  about  200/815  — 
fresh  nominations  were  to  be  made  and  the  undesirable 
ones  to  be  removed  (Kindi,  422).  A  later  Qadi  is  reported 
to  have  taken  this  part  of  his  duty  so  seriously  that  he 
roamed  about  the  street  at  night  with  covered  head  en 
quiring  about  the  character  of  the  "  witnesses  ''(Kindi, 
437).  Even  in  the  letter  of  appointment  of  a  Qadi  in 
Qodamah  (written  some  what  later  than  316/928)  the  selec- 
tion of  witnesses  is  get  down  as  one  of  his  main  duties/ 

When  'Adud-ud-Daulah's  (d  327/982)  general  afiked 
him  to  direct  the  Qadi  to  include  a  name  in  the  list  of 
witnesses  he  received  the  reply:"  You  must  speak  about 
the  promotion  of  soldiers.  The  inclusion  of  names'  in 
the  list  of  witnesses  is  the  Qadi's  business.  Neither  you 
nor  I  have  any  voice  in  that  matter." 

It  is  said  of  Al- Hakim  that  in  this  matter  too  ho 
restored  the  old  practice.  In  405/1014  he  made  more  than 
1200  people  "  witnesses  "  at  their  request.  But  when  the 
chief  Qadi  reproached  him,  saying  that  many  of  them  were 
not  fit  to  be  placed  on  the  list,  he  allowed  him,  with  his 
usual  fickleness,  to  retain  or  strike  off  the  names  he 
pleased*. 

The  assessors,  being  personally  appointed  by  the  Qadi 
vacated  on  his  removal  or  dismissal  from  office/'  The 
Egyptian  Qadi,  in  the  year  321/933,  insisted  upon  his 
"witnesses  accompanying  him  on  his  rides.5"  At  that 
time  four  u  witnesses"  sat  with  the  Qadi  at  the  hearing 
of  a  suite— two  to  his  right  and  two  to  his  left6. 

In  the  4th/10th  century  the  transformation  of  the 
"witnesses"  originally  respectable,  trustworthy  men  of 
the  circuit,  into  a  permanent  body  of  officials  takes  place. 
The  substitution  of  this  new  institution  in  place  of  the  old 
is  a  creation  of  this  century.  In  the  3rd /9th  century  a 
Qadi  nominated  no  less  than  36,000  witnesses7  but  of  these 
only  16,000  availed  themselves  of  the  honour.  About 

[1]  Paris,  Arabic,  5907  fol.  12  b.  [2]  Ibn  Al-Athir,  IX,  15.  [3] 
Ibn  Sa'id,  fol.  124  a  '.Supplement  to  Kindi,  612.  [4]  Mawardi.  128 
[5]  Supplement  to  Kindt,  545.  [6]  Ibid,  552,  569  590.  [7]  Amedroz, 
JEAS  190,  779  ff,  according  to  the  Paris  Ms.  of  Nishwar  of  Tantikhi 
printed  at  p.  128].  See  also,  Sabi,  'RaJa'i1,  122.  Kindi  calls  the  substi- 
tutes of  the  "witnesses  "  [Snuhud]  for  the  year  327/939  "  witnesses  " 
who  represent  them.  In  339/951  Mas'udi,  writing  in  Egypt,  speaks  of 
the  'Shuhnd  of  Baghdad  [VIII,  378.  In  the  East  and  in  the  Maghrib, 
in  the  2nd  half  of  the  4th/10th  century,  court-assessors  were  called  'udul 
\Yatirnah,  III  233  :  Misk,  V,  frequently  this  word  is  used  :-Dozy.  Sub, 

ndul  :  Ibn  Khaldun,  Proleg.  (Slane's  tr  )  p.  456.  This  term  has  been 
i  etained  to  this  day  in  Morocco  (Revue  du  monde  musulman,  XIII,  5l7ff). 
Witnesses  who  are  not  officially  so  are  now  called  Mu'amin  bit  'adalah 

(JTrndi,  422  :  Sabi,  Ras.  122). 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  229 

300/912  Baghdad  counted  some  1,800  such  witnesses.  In 
322/934  the  Egyptian  Qadi  had  to  intimate  to  the  "wit- 
nesses "  that  they  need  only  come  when  sent  for.  He 
did  not  assign  any  salary  to  them/  the  position  being  that 
they  wanted  to  be  officials  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  term 
but  the  Qadi  stood  by  the  old  view.  In  383/993  the  num- 
ber of  '  witnesses  '  at  Baghdad  was  cut  down  to  303  but 
even  this  figure  was  felt  to  be  too  high/  The  chief  Qadi 
at  Cairo  too  had  but  very  few  witnesses. '* 

These  "  witnesses "  apparently  are  the  resurrected 
notaries  of  the  pre-Islamic  empire.  It  is  recommended  to 
the  wise  business  man  to  look  round  among  the  "  witnesses  " 
and  to  choose  the  best  reputed  one  for  notarial  confirma- 
tion of  his  papers.  A  black  sheep  not  infrequently  creeps 
in  among  them  with  the  result  that  all  notarial  work 
done  by  him  becomes  invalid  in  law/' 

Over  each  of  the  five  petty  courts  of  Cairo  a  'witness' 
presided  in  the  name  of  the  Qadi.'7  In  the  Cairo  of  Lane 
the  c  witnesses '  (Shulmd)  satin  the  porch  of  the  High 
Court.  The  plaintiff  brought  his  case  to  one  of  them  who 
happened  to  be  free.  The  'witness1  (Shahid)  noted  his  case 
down  for  a  piastre  or  so.  If  it  was  an  unimportant  one 
and  the  defendant  submitted  to  his  jurisdiction,  he  forth- 
with passed  judgment.  Otherwise  he  referred  the  parties 
to  the  Qadi. 

In  the  appointment  letter  of  the  chief  Qadi*,  drawn  up 
by  Ibrahim  es-Sabi  in  366/976,  in  the  name  of  the  Caliph, 
the  Caliph  recommends  constant  study  of  the  Qura'n  ; 
punctual  fulfilment  of  prayers ;  just  treatment  of  the 
parties ;  that  is  to  say,  he  is  to  show  no  preference  or 
partiality  to  a  Muslim  as  against  a  Jew  or  a  Christian.  He 
is  to  walk  with  dignity  ;  speak  little  and  gently  ;  not  jbo 
look  round  loo  much,  and  be  restrained  in  his  movements. 

(1)  Kindi,  549:  Amedroz,  JEAS  1910,  783  :  according  to  Ibn  Hajar, 
fol.  128  a.  (2)Jauzi,  Muntazam,  fol.  63  a  :  Berlin  134  a:  Amedroz,  JBAS,' 
1910,  p.  779  ff  according  to  Rafal-Isr  and  Dhahabi.  (3)  Enf  al-Isr  in 
Kindi,  596.  (4)  Mahasin  at-ijarah,  36.  (5)  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  1  333. 
(6)  The  first  who  bore  this  title  was  Qadi  Abu  Ynsuf,  the  Qadi  of  Hamn 
al-Bashid.  This  Caliph  conferred  this  title  upon  all  the  Qadis  of  the  more 
important  provinces.  (Maqrizi,  Khitat,  333.)  Ma'mun's  chief  Qadi  had 
to  examine  all  the  judges  (Ibn  Taifur,  ed.  Keller,  fol.  100  a.).  He 
questioned  them  regarding  the  Law  of  Inheritance  and  other  intricate 
rules  of  Muslim  Law.  (Ibn  Kutaibah,  'Uyun,  86.  To  appoint  four  chief 
Qadis — one  for  each  school  of  jurisprudence — became  a  necessity  in  the 
post-crusade  period)  Zahiri  Kashf  el-Mamalik,  ed.  Ravaisse,  92.  Baibars 
appointed  four  chief  Qadis  at  Damascus  in  66471266.  Subki,  Tabaaat 
11,  174. 


230  TITK  BENAI8RANCE  OF   T8LAM 

He  ift  to  employ  an  experienced,  legally -trained  Knlil 
an  incorruptible  court-usher  (Ha jib),  and  a  trustworthy 
deputy  for  work  he  cannot  personally  attend  to.  He  is 
to  pay  them  adequately.  He  is  to  select  witnesses  dis- 
creetly and  to  keep  a  watchful  eye  over  them.  He  must 
protect  orphans  and  supervise  charitable  institutions,  and 
regarding  such  matters  as  lie  cannot  decide  according  to 
the  Qur*an  and  the  Sinnta.h  he  is  to  consult  the  learned. 
Should  they  agree  among  themselves  that  the  Qadi  has 
erred  in  his  decision --he  (the  Qadi)  must  sot  the  decision 

aside/ 

This  body  of  learned  men,  absolutely  independent  of  the 
titate>  tint*  constitute  the  hir/Jiext  Irilnuial.  Tlirovf/h  Mew 
democracy,  the  sovereif/nty  of  tlie  community  of  HIP  faithful, 
maintained  its  position  ///  the,  important  sphere  of  Law, 

All  offices  had  a  tendency  to  become  hereditary  from 
sire  to  son.  And,  indeed,  such  is  most  strikingly  the  case 
with  the  judicial  service.  Tn  the  3rd  and  the  4th  centuries 
one  single  family,  that  of  Abu  Shawarib,  supply  no  less 
than  eight  chief  Qadis  at  Baghdad,  besides  sixteen  Qadis. 
From  about  325/037  the  descendants  of  Abu  Burdah  were, 
for  several  generations,  chief  Qadis  of  tho  Province  of 
Pars  and  from  about  400/1010,  for  centuries,  Qadis  of 
Ghaznah.  (Ibn  Al-Balkhi,  JRAS,  1912.  141).  For  eighty 
long  years  similarly,  in  Fatimid  Egypt,  the  highest  judicial 
office  was  retained  in  the  family  of  An-Nu'man.' 

Tn  the  3rd/9th  century  the  power  of  these  judicial 
dynasties  rose  to  an  immense  height  by  the  introduction 
of  the  practice  of  subletting  the  judicial  jurisdiction — a 
practice  already  in  vogue  in  the  case  of  governorships. 

From  the  beginning  of  the  4th/1.0th  century  the  court 
records  show  that  there  was  only  one  Qadi  in  Egypt  and 
that  in  Khuzistan  and  Fars  all  the  courts  were  placed 
under  the  jurisdiction  of  one  judge.''  The  chief  judge  of 
the  Iranian  Buwayyid  held  the  judgeship  of  the  Capital 
Rat  along  with  that  of  FTamadan  and  the  hill-tracts.'7 

(1)  Sahi,  Raxa'il,  115  f .  At  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century 
the  Qadi  dissolved  tho  marriage  of  a  young  woman  on  the  ground  that 
her  consent  had  not  been  asked  by  her  father.  But  the  woman's  con- 
sent being  only  required  when  she  has  already  been  married,  the  savants 
attacked  the  decision  of  the  Qadi.  Supplement  to  Kindt,  566.  (2)  Arnedroz, 
JRAS,  1910,  780  according  to  the  Tadhkirah  of  Ibn  Hamdun  :  see  also 
Jauzi  174  b.  (3)  Gottheil,  a  distinguished  family  of  Fatimid  Cadis  in 
the  Xth  century,  JAOS  1906,  p.  2l7ff|.  (4)  Wuz,  157.  (5)  Irshad, 
II,  3  14. 


THE  UENATSSANCE  OP  ISLAM  231 

The  Qadi  of  Mekka  in  336/9 11  was  also  the  Qadi  of 
Old  Cairo  and  other  districts/  At  times,  under  the 
Fatimids,  the  Egyptian  territories,  Syria  and  the  countries 
of  the  West  were  placed  under  one  Qaclr.  The  appoint- 
ment letter  of  the  chief  Qadi  of  Egypt,  in  the  year  363/974 
indeed,  confers  jurisdiction  over  almost  the  entire  empire 
west  of  the  Persian  mountains.  Under  him  were  placed 
subjudges  (linkkam),  over  whom  ho  exercised  supervision.'' 

By  the  side  of  the  court  of  the  Qadi  stood  the  temporal 
court  (Ait-Nuz'ir  jil  tnazdliin).'' 

All  matters,  for  which  the  Qadi  was  codsidered  too 
week  or  for  which  a  masterful  hand  was  needed,  came  up 
before  this  Court. 

In  all  Muslim  countries  these  two  courts  existed  side 
by  side7.  But  their  respective  jurisdiction  was  nowhere 
clearly  dofiined.  It  merely  came  to  this  :  Which  was  the 
stronger  of  the  two,  Islam  as  represented  by  the  Qadi  or 
the  world  and  the  wi elder  of  the  wordly  power  ?(i  Most 
police  matters  came  up  before  tlu  Mazalim  which  was 
sometimes  presided  over  by  a  Qadi  -especially  the  court 
of  the  sovereign  by  the  chief  judge.7 

The  Wazir  appointed  temporal  judges  in  the  provinces" 
Twice,  indeed,  did  the  canonical  law  attempt  the  control 
of  the  police.  In  306/918  the  Caliph  directed  the  police 
commissioner  at  Baghdad  to  appoint  a  jurist  in  every 
quarter  of  the  town  to  receive  and  deal  with  complaints 
arid  petitions  :  the&e  then  were*'  legally  trained  police- 
commissioners.  "By  this,  fear  of  the  Government  was 
very  much  lessened  and  the  impudence  of  robbers  and 
loafers  very  much  increased."  (ZuLdat  al-fikralt,  Paris, 
fol.  186  a.)  Also  al-Hakim  associated  two  jurists  with 
the  police  in  every  town,  who  had  to  investigate  every 
ofience  reported  to  them  within  their  jurisdiction'".  The 


(1)  Mas'udi,  IX,  77.  (2)  Qalqashandi,  184.  (3)  Jauzi,  fol.  105 
h.  (4)  Maqrizi,  Kltitctl,  II,  207.  (Khuda  Bakhsh,  Orient  under  the 
Caliph*,  283-292  Tr.)  Amedroz,  JRAS,  1911,635.  (5)  For  Turkistan, 
See  Bchwarz,  Turkestan,  210.  For  the  Egypt  of  Mohamed  All,  see  Lane, 
Manners  and  Customs,  Chapter  IV.  For  Mekka,  see  Snonck  Hnrgronje, 
Mekka.  1,  182.  (6)  Amedroz,  JKAS,  1911,  664.  (7)  For  Egypt  the 
Qadi  appointed  by  Ikhshid  in  324/936  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  113.  There 
was  even  a  special  Qadi  for  the  Mazalim  in  331  (Supplement  to  Kind?, 
Guest  572).  For  Baghdad  in  the  year  493/1004.  Jatizi,  fol.  149  b.  About 
317/929  the  Qadi-nt  Tamikhi  in  Ah\vaz.Zr*/W,  V,  332,  Even  when  such 
was  not  the  case,  the  decisions  were  drafted  by  the  Qadis.  VVnz,  151. 
(8)  Arib  50  :  Irshad,  V,  332.  (9)  Arib,  71.  (10) Yahya  ibn  Said,  205. 


232  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

attempt  miscarried.  Indeed  in  entire  opposition  to  the 
juristic  theory  appeal  lay  to  the  mazalim  from  the  decision 
of  the  Qadi  ;  especially  to  to  highest  court,  that  of  the 
sovereign'. 

"  There  are  many  people  (so  are  the  frequenters  of  this 
court  described)  who  come  from  distant  lands  and  make 
their  complaints — some  against  an  Amir,  others  against  a 
collector  of  taxes,  and  yet  others  against  a  Qadi  or  a  ruler.2" 

About  420/1029  a  Qadi  at  Cairo  sought  the  hand  of  an 
heiress  and  was  refused.  With  the  help  of  four  witnesses 
he,  in  retaliation,  declared  her  to  be  of  unsound  mind 
and  attached  her  property.  She  appealed  to  the  wazir, 
who  imprisoned  the  false  witnesses  and  directed  the  Qadi 
to  restore  her  property  and  other  unjust  misappropriations, 
confined  him  to  his  house  and  appointed  his  son  (the 
Qadi's)  to  do  the  duties  of  his  oilice'j. 

The  viceroy  Ibn  Tulun  administered  justice  so  scru- 
pulously that  '  people  almost  ceased  to  go  to  the  Qadi's 
court' .  For  seven  years,  during  his  administration,  there 
was  no  Qadi  in  Egypt.  All  matters  were  taken  up  and 
disposed  of  by  the  secular  court*.  Even  under  the  negro 
viceroy  Kafur,  the  Qadi  in  Egypt  disappeared  from  the 
scene  because  Kafur  frequently  heard  cases  himself.  In 
360/979  there  was  a  conflict  of  jurisdiction  between  the 
two  courts — spiritual  and  temporal— the  Wazir  deciding 
that  they  should  not  interfere  with  each  other''.  About 
400/1000  the  Qadi  was  constrained  to  object  to  the  police 
interfering  in  matters  relating  to  the  canonical  Jaw.  The 
Caliph  ended  the  dispute  by  placing  the  temporal  Court 
under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Qadi.7.  About  320/932  it 
seems  that  the  tickets  were  thrown  into  the  box  in  the 
presence  of  the  presiding  jud^e*.  The  judgment  was  a 
written  judgment.  Some  of  these  have  become  classics 
of  literature — not  unlike  the  marginal  notes  of  Frederick.9 

At  court  a  day  was  fixed  for  hearing  cases.  Such  in- 
deed, was  already  the  practice  under  the  Byzantine  rule. 


(1)  Miskawaihi,  Vol.  IV,  p.  75  (Bng.  tr.).  I  am  indebted  to 
Prof.  Margoliouth  for  this  reference.  Tr.  (2)  Wuz,  107.  (3)  Amedroz, 
JRAS,  1910,  p.  793.  according  to  Paris,  Arab.  2149,  fol.  CO  :  Cf.  JKAS. 
1911,  663  :  Supplement  to  Kindi,  499,  613.  (4)  Kiudi,  512.  (6)  Sup- 
plement to  Kindi,  584.  Kindi,  591.  (6)  Kindi,  604.  (7;  Wuz,  52, 
107.  Every  \Neek  an  abstract  of  all  complaints  was  to  be  laid  before 
the  President  of  the  Mazalim.  Qodarnah,  Paris,  907,  fol.  236.  (8)  Sup- 
plement to  Kindi,  541.  (9)  Such  as  those  of  Tahir  in  Ibn  Taifur.  Kit, 
BayJidad,  fol.  50  b:  of  Ma'mun  in  Baihaqi,  534  f:  of  Sahib  ibn  Abbad 
in  Tha'alabi,  Khas  al-klias,  Cairo  1909,  p.  73. 


TEE  BEtiAlSSANGti  OF  ISLAM  238 

In  494  A.  D.  the  governor  of  Edessa  sat  every  Friday  in  a 
church  to  hear  cases  (Josua  Stylites,  29).  Under  Al- 
M  a' raun  Sunday  was  the  day  set  apart  for  hearing  cases 
(Mawardi,  143;.  For  this  purpose  Ibn  Tulun  sat  twice 
a  week  (Maqrizi,  Ehitat,  II,  V207).  Ikhshid,  the  viceroy 
of  Egypt,  held  his  court'  every  Wednesday  in  the  presence 
of  the  Wazir,  the  Qadi,  the  jurists  and  other  dignitaries  ; 
Kafur  every  Saturday'. 

But  after  Al-Muhtadi  (i2o5-256/868-869)  the  Caliph 
no  longer  held  such  courts".  This  last  Caliph  heard  and 
decided  cases  and,  being  a  pious  mart,  preached  every 
Friday.  He  built  a  special  domed  hall  with  four  doors 
where  he  administered  justice.  This  '  Palace  of  Justice ' 
was  called  ("  Qitblat  al-Ma;:alim.  ")J 

On  cold  days  ho  arranged  for  coal-pans  to  heat  the 
place — "  so  that  the  suitors  may  not  be  turned  into  stone 
by  cold  together  with  his  Majesty's  presence.5" 

Among  other  promises  the  Caliph  Qahir,  when  trying 
for  the  throne,  promised  personally  to  attend  the  Mazalim* 
Under  Ai-Mutiidid  (279-289/829-603^  the  chief-Marshal 
presided  over  the  sovereign's  court  in  lieu  of  the  sovereign — 
the  wazir,  every  Friday,  over  other  courts  (Wuz,  2-2). 

At  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century  the  Wazir 
heard  Mazaliiii  cases  every  Thursday — the  divisional 
chief  Hitting  with  him7.  In  306/918  actually  a  lady  presided 
over  Mazalim*.  The  Mazalinij  being  free  from  juristic 
hair-splitting,  enjoyed  greater  freedom  and  Mawardi 
reckons  ten  poiuts  on  which  it  differed  from  the  Qadi's 
court.  Most  important  of  these  are  :  that  here  the  parties 
could  bo  forced  to  come  to  terms,  a  thing  which  the  Qadi 
was  not  competent  to  do  ;  witnesses  also  could  be  put 
upon  their  oath  here.  Moreover,  unlike  the  Qadi,  the 
judge  could  in  this  court,  of  his  own  motion,  call  and 
examine  witnesses  ;  whereas  before  the  Qadi  only  the  plaint- 
iff adduced  evidence  and  questioned  witnesses  (Mawardi, 
141  ff.) 

(1)  Ibn  Sa'id,  Tallqist,  39.  (2)  Hindi,  577.  (3)  Maqrizi,  according 
to  Mawardi.  There  Saturday  is  mentioned  as  the  court-day  of  Ikhshid 
and  his  son.  The  brief  historical  survey  of  Maqrizi  is  drawn  from 
Mawardi.  (Ed.  Enger,  131).  (t)  Masudi,  VIII,  2.  (5)  Baihaqi,  577 
Amedroz,  JRAS,  1911,  657.  [Gj  Amedroz,  JRAS,  1911  657.  [7]  Wuz, 
22.  [8]  Arib,  71  :  Abu'l-Mahasin,  II,  203.  Opinion  was  divided 
whether  a  woman  should  be  appointed  judge.  At  least  the  famous  Tabari 
[d.  312]  spoke  in  favour  of  such  a  proposal.  Mawardi,  107.  Later  was 
imposed  the  condition  that  the  yadi  should  be  a  man.  For  the 
no  such  restriction  was  imposed. 


234  THE  HENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

But  all  this  was  mere  theory.  Local  law  and  local 
practice  actually  prevailed  and  the  old  tested  method  such 
as  corporal  punishment,  though  forbidden  to  the  Qadi,  con- 
tinued in  full  force. 


XVI, — PHILOLOGY. 


IN  the  two  main  brandies  of  Arab  philology — in 
grammar  and  in  the  preparation  of  dictionaries-the  4th/10th 
century 'struck  a  new  path.  Like  theology,  it  was  then 
emancipated  from  the  shackles  of  juristic  method — in  exter- 
nal form  entirely.  Suyuti  thus  describes  the  old  philology  : 
"Their  mode  of  dictating  was  absolutely  similar  to  chat 
which  obtained  in  theology.  The  listener  (Mustamli)  wrote 
at  the  beginning  of  the  page  :  Lecture  delivered  by  our 
Shaikh  So-and-So  on  such-and-such  a  day.  The  lecturer 
mentioned  something,  with  a  chain  of  traditions,  which 
the  old  Arabs  and  the  orators  had  said  and  which  contained 
something  striking  and  called  for  an  explanation.  The 
lecturer  explained,  made  comments  and,  in  addition,  cited 
passages  from  the  old  poets.  The  quotations  had  to  be  well 
authenticated;  comments  and  explanations  were  matters 
of  more  or  less  indifference.  Such  was  the  widely-diffused 
method  of  lecture  in  philology  in  the  early  times.  But 
when  the  Ruffaz  died  out,  dictation  in  philology  ceased. 
The  last,  of  whom  I  heard  that  he  dictated  lectures  in  this 
fashion,  was  Abu'UQasim  az-Zajjaj.  The  notes  dictated 
by  him  were  so  copious  that  they  made  up  a  stout  volume. 
He  died  in  339/950.  No  later  students1  note-books  of 
lexicographical  contents  are  known  to  me.v* 

These  old  savants  were  discursive  and  their  lectures 
were  not  well-knit  together.  Their  interest  centred  in 
an  individual  fact,  in  an  individual  form,  in  one  word  or 
in  one  proposition  ;  as  is  the  case  with  Mubarrad 
(d.  285/898)  or  even  with  Qali  (d.  356/967).  Their  books 
are  a  variegated  assemblage — philology,  anecdotes,  history. 

Ghulam  Tha'lab  (d.  345/956)  allowed  himself  to  be  led 
by  questions  from  his  pupils  ;  for  instance  :  0  Shaikh  ! 


*JHwttr;  See  Goldjsiber,  SWA,  69,  20f, 


236          THE    RENAISSANCE    OF  ISLAM 

What  is  al-qantarah  among  the  Beduins?'  The  leading 
philologers  of  the  4th/10th  century,  on  the  other  hand, 
felt  the  need  of  method,  the  systematization  of  their 
material.  In  the  initiation  of  this  new  method  the  study 
of  Greek  grammar  played  the  chief  role.  At  the  court  of 
'Adad-ud-Daulah  (d.  371/981)  differences  between  the 
Arabic  and  Greek  grammar  were  discussed  and  Abu 
Sulaiman  ibn  Taliir  has  pointedly'  characterized  the  new 
tendency  as  profane  and  untheological  :  "  The  grammar 
of  the  Arabs  is  religion  ;  our  grammar  is  reason." 

And,  thus,  when,  for  the  first  time,  an  'Introduction  to 
grammar'  appears  (Miiqaddamah  fin-iiahw}  ;  namely,  that 
of  Ibn  Paris  (d.  395/1005)  it  is  naught  else  but  the  Arab 
descendant  of  the  Isagorjik  (introduction)  of  tho  Greek 
philology. 

The  outstanding  achievement  consists  hi  fixing  and 
elaborating  tho  meaning  of  words.  The  model  is  apparent. 

The  philology  of  the  old  type  was  nothing  more  or  less 
than  a  handbook  for  orators— an  aid  to  rhetorical  flourishes, 
a  mine  of  synouyms.  It  ends  with  Hamzah  al- Isfahan! 
(d.  between  350-60/961-70).  In  his  Ritab  al-muwazanah 
he  has  put  together  400  expressions  for  "  the  unlucky  "  and, 
in  his  '  Book  of  Mayings  he  has  collected  so  many  parallels 
of  rhetorical  phrases  'whiter  than  snow,'  'more  voracious 
than  an  elephant'  that  later  centuries  could  add  nothing  to 
them. 

His  predecessor  had  amassed  300  of  such  comparative 
terms,  but  he  1800.  Maidani  (d.  578/1178)  has  merely 
copied  him  and  has  added  only  one  or  two,  or  at  the  most 
four,  idioms  to  every  chapter.  Even  all  his  explanations 
he  has  borrowed  from  his  predecessor.7 

Even  in  the  sphere  of  proverbs  proper,  the  chief  work 
was  done  in  the  4th/10th  century  by  Al-Hasan  al-'Askari 
(d.  395/1005). 

A  generation  later,  in  the  dictionary  of  Jauhari 
(d>  302/912),  the  new  school  shows  its  impress.  A  compari- 
son with  the  great  dictionary  of  Ibn  Duraid  (d.  321/933) 
shows  what  steps  forward  in  method  and  elucidation  had 
been  effected.  'To  make  clear  and  to  bring  nearer  home' 
— so  says  Ibn  Faris  (d.  395/1005)  himself — 'was  from  the 
beginning  to  the  end,  the  aim  of  his  own  dictionary/4 

(1)  Jauzi,  86  a* 

(2)  Kifti,  ed  Lippert,  288 

(3)  Mittwpch,  MSO8.  1910,  184  f . 

(4)  Goldziher,   Beitrage  «ur  gesch.  chr   sprachgehhr&amkeit  bei  den 
drabern,  SWA,  phil  Jiist.  KL.  73,  p.  518 


THE  KENA18SANCE  OF  ISLAM  *237 

So  nipreme  was  Jauhari,  in  his  own  realm  of  knowledge 
that  an  entire  literature — pro  and  con — has  grown  up 
round  him  through  the  centuries/  Even  Suyuti 
(d.  911/1505)  wrote  a  book  in  Mekka  in  his  defence  against 
Jaujari  and  Aldul  Barr  in  which  he  is  said  to  be  parti- 
oualarly  hostile  toward  the  former — his  contemporary 
(d.  889/1484-). 

All  later  lexicographies  stand  in  relation  .to  Jauharis 
as  supplements  and  commentaries.  Here,  too,  we  note' 
the  end  of  one  epoch  and  the  beginning  of  another  which 
lasts  for  centuries.  Similarly,  etymological  inquiries  too 
now  enter  upon  a  serious  course  and  continue  for  long. 
Their  chief  was  Ibn  Jinni  of  Mosul  (d.  392/1002),  son  of  a 
Greek  slave,  who  is  said  to  have  introduced  into  this 
science  the  so-called  great  etymological  rule  of  the  original 
bi-  radical  roots — even  important  today/ 

The  etymological  work  of  the  Arabs  has  not  achieved 
anything  greater.  The  language  of  ordinary  parlance 
subsisted  by  the  side  of  the  written  language,  but  with 
such  enormous  difference  that  in  the  Baghdad  of  the 
3rd/9th  century  people  were  surprised  to  find  a  man 
effortlessly  speaking  correct  grammatical  Arabic  with  case 
terminations/  The  interest,  awakened  in  literature, 
brought  philology  home  to  the  people  at  large;  making 
them  no  longer  insensible  to  linguistic  errors  and  irregulari- 
ties. Spanish  Az-Zubdani  (died  about  330/941)  wrote  a 
book  on  "the  dialect  of  the  People"1'  Ibn  Khalawaihi  in 
Aleppo(d.  370/980)  composed  'Kitab  Laisa1  the  book  of 
'not  />•</.  How  much  he  left  to  the  later  philologers, 
notably  Hariri,  to  do,  yet  remains  to  be  investigated  ! 

(1)  Goldziher,  SWA,  Vol.  72,  587.  Znr  (jauliari-  Litcratur. 

(2)  Suyiiti,  tic  intcrp.  Corani   24  f. 

(3)  Goldziher,  SWA  67'  250  according   to  Suyuti's    Mitzhir,  1,    1G4. 
This  passage  in   the   Muzhir,   says   Prof.    Margoliouth,  does  not   refer  to 
this  In  his  Khasais,  Chap'er  30  of  book  II  deals  with  Ixhtiqaq   el-Akbar 
(O.Bascher,  Stud;en  ubr  Ibn  Jinni,  ZA,  1909,  20.) 

(4)  Masudi,  VII,  131. 

(5)  Al-Dabbi,  Bwjlijat  al-Mntlammist    5C>,Bibl  His.  Arab. 


XVII.    LITERATURE. 

The  transformation  of  the  race,  the  exhaustion  of  the 
ruling  class,  and  the  stepping-forward  of  the  old  population 
of  mixed  blood  most  strikingly  show  themselves  in  litera- 
ture. About  the  year  200/800  literature  was  in  a  state  of 
ferment.  The  tried  form  of  Qasidah  in  which  the  old 
Arab  poets  had  sung  their  lofty  emotions,  bad  become  too 
tedious,  too  pathetic  and  had  lost  its  hegemonic  position. 
The  townsfolk,  assuming  the  lead,  had  relegated  the  heroic 
language  and  the  epic  material  more  and  more  into  the 
background.  The  gloomy  wildness  yielded  to  clear 
sentences — the  shorter  metres  won  the  day.  The  poet 
is  disposed  to  produce  excitement  through  fresh  material, 
subtle  thoughts,  and  fine  words  and  images,  rather  than 
exaltation  into  a  more  vigorous  world.  Realism,  fatal 
to  all  heroic  poetry,  is  awakened  and  literature  rediscovers 
real  life.  Once  again  literature  takes  note  of  the  present 
and  rejoices  in  the  manifold  aspects  of  the  life  around. 
The  people,  notably  the  unlettered  townsfolk,  now  interest 
themselves  in  Arabic  literature,  not  only  to  see  Arab 
poetry  with  Arab  eyes  or  to  to  sing  it  in  Arab  rhythm,  but  to 
employ  prose  for  the  expression  of  the  manifold,  fresh 
object  encountering  and  surrounding  them. 

Thus  prose,  hitherto  confined  to  learned  and  eeclesias- 
tical  treatises,  or  at  the  most  to  a  few  popular  books, 
translated  from  the  Persian,  enters  the  domain  of 
literature. 

About  the  year  250/864  prose  is  said  to  have  supplanted 
poetry/ 

1.    PROSE. 

Respect  even  for  non-rhythmic  language,  which  is  the 
beginning  of  all  good  prose,  was  the  great  virtue  of  the 
old  Arabs.  Therein  they  excelled  all  other  nations. 


(l)Masudi,    VIII,    347. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Ofr  ISLAM          239 

Along  with  the  poet  stood  the  orator  of  the  tribe,  e  qual  in 
rank  with  him.  The  gift  of  oratory  was  regaled  as 
some  thing  superhuman,  and  hence  the  belief  that  the 
orator  of  a  tribe  must  needs  die  before  another  can  rise 
with  the  demoniac  spirit  within  him.1  And  thus  the 
talent  for  prose  was  looked  upon  as  something  so  absolutely 
different  from  poetic  talent  that  people  were  astonished 
when  a  poet  shone  in  oratory  or  showed  epistolary  ex- 
cellence. 2 


So  keen  was  the  love  of  elegant  diction  that  when  in 
208/823  a  flood  devastated  Mekka  and  the  Caliph  sent 
money  for  relief  and  a  letter  of  consolation,  they  said  that 
the  letter  was  of  greater  moment  to  the  Mekkans  than  the 
money.3 

Interest  in  tho  contemporary  world  repeals  itself 
first  and  foremost  in  the  study  of  popular  manners. 
About  this  time  one  Abu  'Aqqal  wrote  t^e  first  book  on 
"  the  manners  of  the  illiterate"*  The  Qadi  of  Saimar 
"(d.  275/888)  composed  the  "  History  of  the  Lower  Orders" 
(AJchbar  es-SifldK)S  While  the  description  of  to\\n-life  is 
a  favourite  theme  of  Jahiz/  This  man,  of  whose  ugly 
exterior  many  interesting  stories  are  told,  his  name  mean- 
ing the  goggle-eyed/  and  his  grandfather  having  been  a 
negro,  is  the  father  of  the  new  Arabic  prose.  Tha'labi 
calls  him  the  first  great  prose-writer.  The  wazir  Ibn  al- 
'Amid,  master  of  the  diplomatic  style,  used  to  question 
every  one  whom  he  examined  for  state-service  regarding 
his  views  on  Baghdad  and  Jahiz.7  And  for  this  be  was 
nicknamed  the  second  Jahiz8.  The  famous  Thabit  ibn 
Qurrah  is  said  to  have  envied  three  men  :  '  Omar  I,  the 
saintly  Hasan  of  Basra,  and  Jahiz.9  Abu  Hayyan  et- 
Tauhidi,  perhaps  the  greatest  master  of  Arabic  prose, 
wrote  a  book  in  praise  of  Jahiz.  He  took  the  subject  so 
seriously  that  he  dealt  individually  with  the  writers  who 
highly  esteemed  Jahiz/{}.  His  respect  for  the  master  was 


(1)  Aghani  XVIII,  173.  (2)  Agliani  XX.  35:  Ibn  Kutaibah  Liber 
Poesis,  'ed.  de  Goeje,549.  (3)  Baihaqi,  ed.  Sohwally,  475.  (4)  Mas'udi, 
Vt  88  Irshadt  VI,  402.  (5)  <?,</.  Tiraz  el-majalist  67  ff  (6)  Irshad,  VI, 
56,  His  grandfather  was  an  African.  (7)  Yatimah  III,  338  Tha'labi  himself 
is  spoken  of  by  Bakharzi  as  the  Jahiz  of  Nisabur,  Intro  to  Tha'labi's  Kit. 
al-Ijaz.  (8)  Lata'if  al-vnaarif,  105  ;  Irshad,  I  686.  (9)  Yatimah  III, 
3.  (10)  Irstiad,  VI,  69. 


240  THE  tiENAtSSANOE  OF  I8LAM 

so  greafc  that  be  actually  adopted  his  scholastic  lead/  On 
every  subject  Jahiz  has  written  :  from  the  schoolmaster*, 
to  the  Banu  Hashim  ;  from  robbers  to  lizards5 ;  from  the 
attributes  of  God  to  ribaldry  regarding''  the  wiles  and 
snares  of  womankind:7  His  style  is  entirely  his  own.  It 
is  chatty  and,  not  infrequently,  clumsy.  But  it  is  precisely 
this  which  appeals  to  his  admirers.  They  appreciate  its 
comparative  freedom  from  literary  pedantry  which  until 
his  time  was  in  the  ascendant  in  learned  circles.  They 
treat  the  leisurely  earner ie  as  conscious  art.  Even  Mas'udi 
in  323/943,  applauds,  in  these  terms,  the  perfect  arrange- 
ment and  the  solid  structure  of  his  works  :  "  When  he 
fears  that  the  reader  is  weary,  he  instantly  passes  from  the 
serious  to  the  humorous,  from  sublime  wisdom  to  elegant 
oddities".  Mas'udi  places  Jahiz'  intricate  work,  Kttab  ul- 
Bayan,  first  on  the  list  on  account  of  its  many-sidedness 
and  versatility,6  and  often  compares  a  good  writer  to  one 
who  gathers  wood  at  night  and  collects  unexamined  all 
that  comes  to  his  hand.7 

About  '200/800  Mysticism,  following  the  exhaustion 
of  Arabism,  powerfully  helped  the  popularization  of  letters 
and  largely  contributed — as  it  did  in  other  literatures  too 
— to  naturalism  by  despising  pedantry  and  parade  of 
learning,  by  even  actually  opposing  it  and  by  casting  in 
its  lot  with  common  people.  It  preached  to  them ;  it 
regulated  their  lives  for  them  ;  it  entered  into  their  needs 
and  aspirations  ;  it  allowed  itself  to  be  moulded  by  their 
very  mode  of  expression  itself.  And,  indeed,  only  by 
the  decline  of  the  old  Arab  tradition  can  the  introduction 
of  rhymed  prose  in  Muslim  literature  be  explained.  The 
Muslims  were  still  familiar  with  the  heathen  flavour  of 
rhyme,  but  detested  it,  as  the  Christians  of,  the  Roman 
Empire  detesed  the  antique  metres.  Jahiz  (d.  255/868) 
says :  "  As  the  reason  for  the  prohibition  of  rhymed 
prose,  viz  the  heathen  soothsayers,  who  employed  it, 
have  disappeared,  so  has  the  prohibition  too."8 

The   Christian    converts  to   Islam,  now   exercising   a 
decisive  influence,    were  familiar   with  rhymed   prose   in 

(1)  Irsluul,  t  V.    282.  (2)  Irshad    V,    380.  Bakharzi   mentions    the 

voluminous  Tha'lahi.     (3)  Mustatraf  II,    199.  How  far  the  jokes   there 

came   from   Greek    witticism,   in   which  the  school-master  is  the  central 

figure,  yet  remains  to     ho   investigated,  See  Keich  Mimux,   1,  443.  (4) 

Ilusri,  /<7'7,  1>  661.    (5)    Faraj  bad  at-Shutdah  quotes  from   his   'Book  of 

Robbers  '.     (0)     VIII,    34.    This   alternation  between    seriousness    and 

jesting  is  pointed   out   in  all  literary  histories.     Khwarezmi,  Has  ait,  183. 

(7)    For  instance    Mas'udi,    IV,   24,     (8)     Kit.    ul-Bayan  1,     III  ft, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  241 

their  sermons,  and  thus  in  the  3rd/9th  century  rhymed 
prose  appears  in  official  sermons.  We  find  it  in  a  large 
measure  in  an  address  of  the  Caliph  to  his  loyal  supporters, 
although  it  is  not  consistently  sustained  right  through.' 
In  epistolary  style  too  rhymed  prose  made  its  way. 

There  always  were  writers  who,  putting  aside  religious 
scruples,  wrote  in  rhymed  prose,  so  admired  in  old  Arab 
orators.  The  people  of  Baghdad  knew  by  heart  the  letter 
which  Ibrahim  wrote  to  the  Barmakid  Khalid  in  the 
time  of  Harun.2 

The  official  Arabic  was  the  standard  language.  About 
200/800  the  Chancellor  of  the  Caliph  Ma'mun  wrote 
simply  and  without  rhyme.3  Ibn  Thawabah  (d.  277/890), 
whose  rhymed  letter  to  the  Wazir  has  been  preserved 
was  well-known  for  his  ornate  style.  Even  the  famous 
curse  on  the  Omayyads,  which  was  meant  to  be  solemnly 
read  out  from  all  the  pulpits,  was  composed  without  the 
singsong  of  rhyme;  and  yet  it  shows  faint  indications  of 
it/*  About  that  time,  however,  a  State-Secretary  writes 
in  quite  unrhymed  prose  to  the  Wazir.5 

But  about  300/000  rhymed  prose  becomes  the  fashion 
among  the  aristocracy  of  Baghdad.  The  Caliph  Muqtadir 
writes  in  it  to  his  subjects.6  The  Wazir  'AH  ibn  'Isa 
ornaments  his  letters  with  a  great  deal  of  rhyme  (Wuz, 
277).  Abroad  in  the  provinces  they  did  not,  however, 
yet  soar  so  high.  The  rhymed  letters  of  the  Wazir  Ibn 
Khaqan  sounded  Chinese  to  the  the  authorities  (for  instance 
the  letter  of  the  Sahib  el-Khabar  (Secret  service  agent 
in  Dinawar)  Arib,  39  f).  The  officials  in  the  provinces 
still  wrote  in  the  usual  unrhymed  styJe(  Jrs/tarf,  II,  418). 

But  now  the  passion  for  rhymed  prose  grows  and 
spreads;  while  'Amid  and  his  contemporaries  now  use 
and  now  do  without  rhyme,  at  the  end  of  the  century,  in 
stylists  like  Sabi  and  BaJ)agha,7  it  is  never  absent.8 
The  Buwayyid  Wazir,  Sahib  ibn  'Abbad,'9  is  said  to  have 


(1)     Goldziher,     Abhandlunyen  zur  Arabischcn   Philcloyie,    1,    65  f. 
(2)  Jahiz.    Bay  an,     II,    114.  I    have   taken    this   quotation   from  Prof. 
Margoliouth's   Letters   of   Abti'l   'Ala    XLIII.     (3)  E.  G.   al-Kindi,  446. 
and  Ibn  Taifur  offen.     A"  rhymeless  letter  of  Mu'tasim  to  Abd,  b  Tahi 
in    Kit.  fi's-Sada.qah   of    Tauhidi,   Const.    1301,   p.  5  :    Inhad,   II,    I 
(4)     Tabari,    III,   2166   ff.  (5)  Irshad,  VI,   463    (6)  WHZ.'  337     Irskaa 
VI,  280.   (7)   On  Sabi,  see  Browne,  Persian  Lit.  Vol.    I,  372:     Nicolson, 
Hist  of  the  Arabs,   pp.   327-8   Tr.     (8)    Ibn  Khafagah,   In  the  introduc- 
tion to  the  Khutbah  of  Ibn  Nubatah,  16.     (9)   On   Sahib,    See   Browne, 
Persian   Lit.,    I,    374-5.  Tr. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

had  a  mania  for  it!  So  possessed  was  he  by  it  that  he 
would  not  miss  it  were  he  even  to  ruin  everything  thereby 
or  to  risk  the  greatest  danger.  -  On  one  of  his  journeys 
he  shifted  from  nice  to  miserable  quarters  merely  to  date 
his  diary  'From  Naubahar  at  nocn'  (Nisf  en-nahur}.1 
At  least  such  is  the  report  of  an  evil-tongued  dependent 
On  one  occasion  the  Sahib  showered  so  much  ihyme  upon 
an  'Alid  who  had  ccme  to  see  him  that  the  'Alid  nearly 
fainted  away,  and  had  to  be  brought  round  by  sprinkling 
rose-water  on  him.2  And  to  this  day  has  rhymed  prose 
retaind  its  position  in  the  Muslim  Orient.3 

The  letters  of  the  4th/ J Oth  century  are  the  finest 
products  of  Muslim  art,  working  upon  the  noblest  material 
— human  speech.  Were  all  the  things  which  artists 
fashioned  out  of  glass  and  metal  to  perish,  these  letters 
alone  would  proclaim  and  establish  how  light  elegance  and 
easy  mastery  of  difficult  figures  were  prized  among  them. 
It  is  no  accident  that  many  Wazirs  of  that  age  were  masters 
of  style,  and  as  such  their  letters  were  deemed  worthy 
of  preservation  in  book-form — Kbasibi,  Ibn  Muqlah/' 
Muhallabi,5  Ibn  el-'Amid,  the  Sahib  Ibn  'Abbad,  the 
Samanid  Wazir  el-Iskafi.  The  last  was  distinguished  in 
state-despatches  but  worthless  in  private  correspondence — 
so  fine  then  was  the  distinction  between  the  two.6  The 
more  important  documents — such  as  deeds  of  appoint- 
ment— were  drawn  up  at  a  special  department  of  the 
Government,  the  Diwan  er-liasa'il.  At  Baghdad  they 
went  the  length  of  placing  at  the  head  of  this  department 
the  most  brilliant  stylist  of  the  second-half  of  the  century, 
although  he  openly  professed  the  sabaean  religion  and 
declined  to  accept  Islam  when  offered  the  Wzarat.7 
And,  when  he  died,  no  lesn  a  person  than  .the  chief  of  the 
'Alids  sang  an  elegy  on  this  non-Muslim,  showing  how  much 
higher  then  literary  accomplishment  stood  than  mere 
orthodoxy.8  This  Ibrahim  Ibn  Hilal  es-Sabi  (d.  884/994) 
knew  his  worth  and  was  fully  cognizant  of  the  fact  that 
he  was  "the  eye  of  the  Caliph  through  which  he  surveyed 
the  contemporary  world",  and  that  he  possessed  ideas  of 
which  Kings  were  in  need.9 


(1)  Irtliad,  II,  298.  (2)  Irxhnl,  II',  304.  (3)  With  very  few  excep- 
tions. Thus  a  famous  Chancellor  of  the  first  Almoravid — true  to  the 
wisdom  of  the  old  Chancellors — avoided  it.  Marrakeshi,  Transl.  by 
Fagnan,  139  (4)  Khwarezmi,  35  (5j  Fihri&t,  134.  (?)  Yatimah  III 
119:  IV,  31:  Irshad,  V.  331  (7)  lr*had,  I,  343.  (8)  Ibn  KhaLikan', 
Eng.  tr,  Vol.  I.  31,  T.  (6)Basa'ilt  Ba'abda,  1898  p.  8. 


THK    RENAISSACE   OF    ISLAM  243 

His  letters  fall  into  two  parts:  the  first  recapitulates 
the  contents  of  the  letter  in  answer.  Here  the  opportunity 
for  courtly  compliments  is  offered  and  made  use  of.  Thus 
does  a  letter  of  the  Wazir  to  the  Chief  Qadi  begin:  The 
letter  of  the  chief  Qadi  has  come  with  words  which  make 
the  sea  sweet  when  mixed  with  it  and  ideas  so  clear  that 
it  illumines  and  chases  the  night  away/  Then  follows 
the  reply  prefaced  by  'I  have  understood'.  Even  to-day 
the  letters  of  Sabi  can  be  read  with  relish  and  admiration 
for  the  command  of  language  which  enlivens  even  purely 
business  correspondence  with  delightful  diction  ,  adorns  it 
with  pleasing  rhymes  and  embellishes  it  with  wit  and 
humour.  And  despite  all  this  splendour  the  sense  is 
never  lost  in  the  mere  tangle  of  words  or  sweet-sounding 
cadences.  Unlike  the  letters  of  the  later  ages,  we  in- 
stantly perceive  and  understand  here  what  is  said.  Strip- 
ped of  all  adornments,  even  in  a  clumsy  translation,  they 
are  eminently  readable. 

A  congratulatory  letter,  drafted  by  Sabi,  from  Izz-ud- 
Daulah  to  his  cousin  'Adud-ud-Daulah,  in  answer  to  a 
communication  of  the  latter  announcing  the  conquest  of 
Beluchistan  and  the  mountain  range  of  Qufs  in  357/968, 
may  serve  as  an  example  of  a  state-despatch.  "The 
letter  of  the  Amir  'Adud-ud  Daulah  has  arrived — May 
God  maintain  his  power  and  glory  j — with  the  news  of  his 
success  which  the  Almighty  has  granted  him  by  reason  of 
his  faith  and  piety  ;  namely  that  he— May  God  maintain 
his  greatness! — has  conquered  the  mountain-range  of 
al-Qufs  and  al-Belu?  and  the  inhabitants  who  were  hostile; 
to  our  faith  and  had  strayed  away  from  the  path  of  God  ; 
that  he  chased  them  from  one  hiding  place  to  another 
that  he  subdued  them  wherever  they  sought  shelter  or 
refuge  ;  that  he  slew  their  guards  ;  destroyed  their  heroes, 
laid  waste  their  fields  and  pastures  ;  effaced  all  traces  of 
them  with  the  result  that  he  left  them  no  option  but  to 
submit  to  him,  to  sue  for  peace,  to  give  hostages,  to  sur- 
render their  treasures,  to  take  up  a  correct  attitude  towards 
our  faith  and  to  enter  its  fuld.  I  have  understood  and 
praised  God  for  the  favours  He  has  shown  to  the  Amir 
Adud-ud-Dawlah  for  I  knew  what  booty  God  has  given 
him.  I  rejoice  over  his  success.  I  share  with  him  what 
he  has  and  I  stand  by  him,  for  even  the  sense  of  sharing 
his  glory  is  an  honour  because  of  the  greatness  of  the  man 
that  has  achieved  it.  We  are  accustomed  to  see  the  Amir- 
May  God  strengthen  him !— chastise  the  unbeliever  until  he 
mends  his  ways  and  the  obstinate  until  be  softens  down . 


244        THE    EENA188ANCE   OF    ISLAM 

We  are  accustomed  to  see  the  Almighty  help  him  and  ensure 
good  luck  to  him  and  lead  him  to  a  successful  issue. 
When  information  of  Rome  great  deed  of  the  Amir  reaches 
me,  I  wait  to  hear  of  the  next  which  swiftly  follows,  and 
every  thanksgiving  that  I  offer  for  the  past  glory  is  a 
pledge  of  another  to  come.  And  it  does  speedily  come. 
I  pray  to  God  that  He  may  strengthen  him  with  His 
kindness,  overwhelm  him  with  His  gifts,  so  that  he  may 
attain  his  temporal  snd  spiritual  ends.  I  pray  that  He  may 
grant  everything  lavishly  to  him  in  the  two  worlds-- 
temporal and  bpiritual  ;  that  He  may  crown  his  banner  with 
victory — be  it  small  or  groat  ;  that  He  may  exalt  him  over 
his  enemies — whatever  be  their  number  ;  that  He  may 
place  thoir  forelocks  in  his  hands  in  war  and  peace,  and 
that  He  may  reduce  them  under  his  authority — bo  they 
willing  or  not/ 

The  use  of  ornato,  flowery,  rhymed  style  passes  from 
official  [Sultan  iyah]  into  private  correspondence.  In  the 
3rd/9th  century,  the  poet-prince  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz  condoles 
with  the  prince  'Ubaidullah'  'Abdullah  ibn  Tahir  in  rhyme- 
less  prose  and  receives  a  rhymeless  reply.  But  a  century 
later  such  a  thing  was  unthinkable.3  At  the  end  of  the 
4th/10th  century  the  art  of  studied  letter-writing  acquires 
such  steem  and  popularity  that  a  living  could  be  made 
out  of  it,  as  it  could  from  time  immemorial  out  of  poetry. 
After  the  days  of  the  first  'Scribes'  of  the  Arabs  Abu  Bakr 
el-Khwarezmi  (d.  383/993)  is  the  most  famous  of  such 
private  letter-writers.  He  visited  almost  all  the  Muslim 
courts  of  the  East  :  Bukhara,  Nisabur,  Herat,  Isfahan, 
Shiraz/  He  wrote  to  princes,  wazirs,  generals,  qadis, 
officials,  theologians  and  philologers.  The  contents  are  of 
the  usual  kind  :  Felicitations  on  festive  occasions,  on 
promotion  in  rank,  on  success  ;  consolation  on  bereave- 
ments, dismissal,  illness  or  perils  of  war  ;  thanks  for  gifts. 
Even  a  complaint  to  the  Director  of  Taxes  finds  a  place 
among  them.  The  complaint  is  regarding  too  high  an 
assessment  of  his  land-tax.  The  director  is  to  remedy  this 
grievance  if  he  would  not  rob  Rhora&an  of  its  tongue. 
Upon  this  the  tax  is  remitted  for  a  year.4  His  fame 
apparently  drew  many  pupils  to  him,  notably  jurists 
(Fuqaha).  In  his  collected  correspondence  we  find  many 
a  Jetter  to  his  pupils,  past  and  present ;  and  even  one  in 
which  he  gives  thanks  for  the  appointment  of  a  pupil.5 

Among  others  here  is  one  :  Thy  letters,  my  son,  are 

apples  and  incense,  flowers  and  bouquets  to  me.    I  rejoice 

(1)    Basail  of  Sabit  571,    (2*  Shabusfc,  Kit.  ed-diyarat*  'Berlin,  fol.  46 

a  ff.  (3)Tatimah,  IV,  123  ff.  (DlRasa'il,  Const,  p.  81.  [5]  Rasa'il,  119ff. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  245 

at  the  receipt  of  the  first  but  I  wistfully  Jong  for  the  second. 
I  am  thankful  to  thee  for  the  one  that  has  come,  but  I 
count  days  and  nights  for  the  one  yet  to  come.  Therefore 
write  long  and  write  many  letters  and  know  that  I  am  firm 
and  steadfast  in  my  love. 

With  such  intensity  do  I  love  thee, 
That  it  would  make  an  enemy  friend. 

Thy  presence  I  enjoy — in  thine  absence  I  fret.  Wert 
thou  only  aware  of  my  longing  for  thee,  a  sense  of  pride 
would  come  over  thee  and  men  would  cease  to  have  any 
value  in  thine  eyes  and  thou  would'st  only  look  at  them 
scornfully  and  speak  to  them  contemptuously.7 

Compared  with  these,  the  letters  of  Sabi  are  simple  and 
matter-of-fact.  Rhythm  and  lightness  of  touch  are  the 
central  features  of  Khwarezmi.  The  contents  are  merely 
so  many  pegs  on  which  the  artist  hangs  his  chaplets.  This 
method,  again,  has  very  much  in  common  with  the  old 
Arab  method — the  sheer  joy  in  sweet-sounding  words,  in 
metaphors  and  similes,  in  violent,  tumultuous  emotions. 
But  there  is  this  all-important  difference  :  that  the  chival- 
rous strain  of  the  Arab  has  now  become  grotesque,  as  it 
was  bound  to  became  in  a  prosaic  age. 

Grotesque  is  the  rhetoric  of  Khwarezmi.  Exaggera- 
tion and  accumulation  are  resorted  to  as  deliberate  forms 
of  art. 

"  Someone  has  offended  me — I  know  not  if  the  wind 
has  swept  him  away,  or  the  earth  has  devoured  him,  or  the 
serpent  has  bitten  him,  or  the  wild  animals  have  torn  him 
to  pieces  or  the  sorceress  of  the  desert  has  seduced  him, 
or  the  devil  has  enticed  him  away,  or  the  lightning  has 
burnt  him,  or  the  camels  have  trodden  him  under  foot, 
or  the  guide  has  misled  him.  Has  he  fallen  from  a  camel 
or  has  he  rolled  down  from  a  precipice,  or  has  he  been 
flung  into  a  well,  or  has  a  mountain  tumbled  over  him,  or 
have  his  hands  withered,  or  .his  feet  been  paralysed,  or  hag 
elephantiasis  seized  him  or  diaphragmitis  either  ?  Or  has 
he  chastised  a  slave,  and  in  retaliation  been  killed  by  him? 
Has  .he  lost  his  way  in  the  mountain,  or  has  he  been 
drowned  in  the  sea,  or  has  he  died  of  heat,  or  has  he  been 
swept  away  by  a  torrent,  or  has  a  deadly  dart  pierced  him, 
or  has  he  done  Lot's  work  and  been  stoned?2 

To  one  who  wishes  to  buy  a  copy  of  his  letters  he 
writes  :  If  I  only  could,  I  would  make  the  *skin  of  my 
cheek,  paper  ;  a  finger  of  mine,  the  pen;  and  the  pupil  of 
my  eyes,  the  ink.5 

[1]  Rasa' it,  76.    (2)  Rasa'il  68.  (3)  Rasa'il  106,  also  p.  63. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  246 

Sometimes  his  rhetoric  furnishes  us  with  a  very  useful 
list  of  contrarieties  of  the  times;  for  instance,  when  he 
iescribes  how  perversely  and  unhappily  things  have  fared 
with  him  : — 

"  I  have  ridden  a  strange  animal.  I  have  taken  food 
out  of  a  strange  bowl  (lit.  bag).  I  have  stayed  in  a 
hired  house ;  I  have  taken  raisin-wine.  In  summer  wool 
have  I  worn,  in  winter  with  paper  have  I  covered  myself. 
In  writing  courtesy  has  been  shown  to  me,  but,  face  to  face, 
I  have  been  addressed  as  'thou'.  In  the  line  of  worship- 
pers, mine  has  been  the  very  last  place.  Things  have 
even  gone  so  far,  that  my  female  slave  has  treated  me 
unkindly  and  my  horse  has  became  restive.  My  com- 
panions with  whom  I  have  journeyed  have  arrived  before 
me,  and  even  a  good  dirham  in  my  hand  has  become 
counterfeit.  Cloth  purchased  for  dress  has  looked  like 
stolen  stuff  on  my  person.  When  I  washed  my  clothes  in 
July  the  sun  vanished  and  clouds  covered  the  sky.  When 
I  travelled  in  June,  the  wind  below  and  the  mist  obscured 
my  vision.  Everything  I  had  I  lost,  iny  honour  included.''1 

By  accumulation  he  achieves  splendid  flattery,  and  at 
the  same  time,  supplies  us  with  a  list  of  books  out  of  which 
a  fine  rhymed  letter  may  be  composed  :  '  The  Sahib8  has 
said  that  he  has  written  the  reply  to  my  letter  between 
the  midday  and  the  evening,  but  this  length  of  time  was 
unnecessary,  for  is  not  his  mind  as  full  and  deep  as  the  sea  ? 
To  write  this  letter  I,  on  the  other  hand,  closed  my  door, 
let  my  curtains  down,  brought  my  books  to  my  elbow,  sat 
between  the  tax-gatherers  and  the  Buwayyids,  Khasibi  and 
Ibn  Muqlah,  summoned  tha  race  of  the  Yezdads  and  the 
Sheddads  from  their  graves,  called  the  Basran  Ibn  Al- 
Muqaffa  from  the  other  world,  the  Persian  Sahl  ibn  Harun, 
the  Egygtian  Ibn  'Abdan  Hasan  ibn  Wahb,  Ahmad  ibn 
Yusuf.  To  my  right  I  placed  the  Life  of  Ardeshir  ibn 
Babekan,  to  rny  left  the  book  At-Tabyan  Wul-Bayan,  in 
front  of  me  the  Sayings  of  Buzurgmihr  ibn*al-Bakhtikan 
and  above  them  all  the  letters  of  our  Lord  and  Master 
Sahib  'Ain  ez-Zaman\  ect,,  etc. 

By  his  contemporaries  Khwarezmi*  was  regarded  as 
antiquated  and  far  too  simple,  for  he  wrote  'like  ordinary 
people  with  an  ordinary  pen'. 

(1)  Rasail,  30.  (<2)  Ras'ail,  35.  (3)  Haroadani,  Ras'ail  Beymt, 
76  (for  Khwarezmi  See  Ibn  Khali.  Eng.  tr.  I,  366:  Vol.  Ill,  108. 
Khwarezmi  died  A.  H  383.  According  to  Ibn  al-Athir,  A.  H  393  Tr, 


THE  11ENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  24? 

Abu'l  Fadl  of  Hamadan  is  the  protagonist  of  the  new 
advanced  school.  At  the  age  of  12  he  came  to  the  Sahib 
ibn  cAbbad  at  Eai  ;'  12  years  latter  to  Nisabur,  where  both 
orally  and  in  writing  he  measured  bin  strength  with 
Khwarezmi.*  On  the  death  of  his  rival  he  left  Nisabur, 
and  began  his  grand  tour  in  Khorasan,  Sijistan,  Afghanis- 
tan, where  he  visited  and  reaped  a  harvest  in  every  town. 
Finally  he  took  up  his  residence  at  Herat,  where  he  formed 
a  rich  matrimonial  alliance  and  acquired  landed  properties. 
In  398/1067  he  died  a  little  over  forty.3  He  was  famous 
for  his  memory.  He  could  accurately  repeat  a  poem  of 
fifty  verses  on  hearing  it  once/' 

Among  the  feats  he  could  perform  and  Khwarezmi 
could  not,  he  reckoned  writing  a  letter  which  served  as  a 
reply  even  when  read  with  the  lines  reversed  ;  writing  a 
letter  without  certain  letters  or  groups  of  certain  letters, 
or  without  the  article;  writing  a  letter  which  was  a  poern 
read  sideways  ;  writing  a  letter  whicli  may  be  interpreted 
both  as  praise  or  censure'7  —  a  performance  then  regarded  as 
the  highest  triumph  of  authorship. 

Hamadani  also  finds  fault  with  the  style  of  Jalii^  as  too 
simple,  too  much  akin  to  the  language  of  the  common  folk, 
too  jerky  and  abrupt,  without  ornamentation  or  rare  expre- 
ssions (Maqamali,  7;^,  Beyrut  edition).  Fortunately  the 
letters  of  Hamadani  which  have  come  down  to  us  are  free 
from  literary  tricks  or  jugglery,  but  they  are  far  more  ornate 
than  Khwarezmi'  s  and  are  strewn  with  far-fetched  allusions 
and  grotesque  puns  upon  words.  But  something  new  which 
has  forced  its  way  into  the  epistolary  style  now  comes  to 
light.  It  is  ike  pleature  in  sheer  narration.  Here  and  there 
we  now  come  across  in  letters,  anecdotes,  more  or  less 
elaborate,  by  way  of  illustration  —  a  thing  never  met  with  in 
Khawarezmi.  Thus  the  man  from  Basra,  who  had  lost  his 
donkey,  personifies  him  who  takes  a  long  journey  to  find 
what  is  near  home.  ''He  set  out  to  find  him  and  looked  for 
him  at  every  inn.  When  he  failed  to  find  him  he  jmarched 

(I)  For  the  life  of  Hamadani,  see,  Pronderga&t's  tr.  of  his  Maqamah 
Introduction.  Tr.  [2]  We  should  read  392  as  in  Irshad  (1,97)  instead 
of  c82  as  in  Yatimah  [Damascus  edition]  [3]  Yotimah,  IV,  368:  Ibn 
Khali.  Wusterfeld's  edition,  1,  69.  [4]  Yatimah.  IV,  167.  (6)  Rasa'il,  74. 
(There  is  one  such  Ghazal  ascribed  to  the  poot  Khusru  of  Delhi.  Here  are 
some  of  the  lines:  — 


jj    &j)\*'isji\$\>-    f     ^     **•'  ' 


248  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

through  Khorasan,  came  to  Tabaristan  and  Mesopotamia, 
went  round  the  Bazars,  but  the  donkey  was  nowhere  to  be 
found.  Then  he  gave  up  the  quest,  and  after  a  long  and 
tedious  journey  returned  home.  One  day  he  sees  the 
donkey  in  his  stable,  and  lo  and  behold,  he  is  there  with  his 
saddle  and  bridle,  crupper  and  girth,  nibbling  away  at  his 

fodder."1 

And  to  illustrate  one's  incessant  longing  for  home, 
Hamadani  says :  The  camel,  despite  his  coarse  texture, 
longs  for  his  town;  the  birds  fly  across  the  sea  to  return 
home.  He  relates  of  Tahir  ibn  el-Husain  :  When  he  came 
to  old  Cairo  he  found  domes  set  up  in  the  streets,  carpets 
laid  out,  houses  artistically  decorated,  people  on  horse- 
back, and  on  foot,  gold  scattered  to  right  and  to  left.  But 
Tahir  bent  his  head,  said  nothing,  interested  himself  in 
nothing  and  felt  pleased  with  none.  When  questioned 
about  it  he  replied:  The  old  women  of  Buseng  (his  native 
town)  were  not  among  the  spectators."2 

A  merchant  supplies  his  son  with  money  in  a  foreign 
country  and,  at  the  same  time,  gives  him  advice.  He 
administers  special  caution  against  generosity.  "  Let 
people  say,  God  is  generous  !  But  His  generosity  enriches 
us  without  impoverishing  Him.  But  with  us  it  is  differ- 
ent." Abroad,  the  son  developed  a  passion  for  learning. 
He  spent  all  his  money  in  its  acquisition  and  returned  home 
to  his  father  with  the  Quran  and  its  commentaries,  and 
said  :  Father,  I  have  come  to  thee  with  power  over  this 
and  the  eternal  life  to  come.  I  have  come  to  thee  with 
Traditions  and  their  hnad ;  I  have  come  to  thee  with 
jurisprudence  and  its  tricks;  scholasticism  and  its  rami- 
fications, prose  and  its  elegance,  grammar  and  its  conju- 
gations, philosophy  and  its  principles— so,  pluck  flower 
and  fruit  from  the  tree  of  knowledge  and  things  noble  and 
beautiful  from  the  fine  arts.  The  father  thereupon  took 
the  son  to  the  Bazar,  to  the  money-changer,  to  the  linen 
dealer,  to  the  spice-seller,  and  finally  to  the  vegetable- 
seller  and  asked  for  a  bundle  of  vegetables  and  said : 
Take  in  payment  the  commentary  on  any  Sura  you  please. 
The  vegetable-seller  jibbed  and  rejoined  :  "  We  sell  only 
for  the  current  coin  and  not  for  a  commentary  on  the 
Quran."  Then  the  father  took  some  dust  in  his  hand  and 
put  it  on  the  head  of  his  son  and  spoke  :  You  child  of  mis- 
fortune, with  money  you  left  home  and  to  home  you  have 
returned  with  learning  which  will  not  buy  you  even  a 
bundle  of  vegetables:1 

"  [1)    Rasa'iL  174  ff.    (2)    Basa'il,  870.    (3)  Rasa'il>  393  ff. 


THE    RENAISSANCE   OF  ISLAM  249 

Hamadani's  leaning  and  propensity  for  the  dramatic 
fitted  in  well  with  the  lively  interest  in  travellers,  in  their 
language  and  adventures,  which  marked  the  circle  that 
gathered  round  the  Sahib.  The  Wazir  himself  was  an 
adept  in  the  language  of  the  common  folk  ( MunaJcat  bani 
Satan)  and  loved  &o  converse  with  Abu  Pulaf  al-Khazraji. 
Abu  Dulaf  had  travelled  to  India  and  China  c  in  quest  of 
knowledge  and  refinement '.  To  him  we  are  indebted  for 
valuable  information  on  those  countries.  He  collected 
MSS.  for  the  Sahib  and  played  the  part  of  a  negotiable 
instrument  for  his  business/  Not  only  had  he  eye  and 
ear  for  foreigners  but  also  for  the  lowest  strata  of  his  own 
people,  mostly  as  strange  as  the  former  to  cultured  circles. 
Even  here  in  this  sphere  of  activity  Jahiz  had  preceded 
him  by  some  150  years.  Jahiz  was  the  first  to  draw  up  a 
list  of  the  arts  and  crafts  of  the  common  folk  with  their 
distinctive  characteristics,  which  Baihaqi  at  the  end  of 
the  4th/10th  century  somewhat  amplified/'  But  now 
Abu  Dulaf  composes  a  long  poeii*  on  common  folk  with 
such  exhaustive  notes  and  comments  that  he  leaves  his 
two  predecessors  far  far  behind  him."'  To  Ahnaf  al-Akbari, 
himself  a  traveller,  touchingly  singing  of  his  homelessness, 
belongs  the  credit  of  having  inspired  Abu  Dulaf  with  the 
idea  of  that  work.  As  a  veritable  poet  Ahnaf  could  not 
compile  a  dull  dictionary  of  slang  but  to  Abu  Dulaf  he 
passed  on  the  material  for  such  a  work/' 

In  this  circle  Hamadani  now  makes  his  appearance  with 
a  special  gift  for  short,  rhetorical,  lively,  dramatic  stories 
A  series  of  Maqamat  is  the  result,  of  \vhich  one,  the  Rutafah 
maqamat,  is  a  monument  of  slang,  not  unlike  the  poem  of 
Abu  Dulaf.5  He  himself  shows  the  influence  of  Abu  Dulaf, 
for  the  poem  quoted  in  the  first  Maqaiuah  is  a  poem  of  Abu 
Dulaf.6'  Khwarezmi  asserted  that,  besides  the  Maqamat, 
Hamadani  had  achieved  nothing,  a  statement  strongly 
resented  by  the  latter.7  We  do  not  know  what  impressed 
the  critic  so  much  then.  For  us  the  great  advance  lies  in 


(1)  Yatimah.,  Ill,   174  (See  Ibn  Khali.,  Eng.  tr.  I.   215:  on   Atm'l 
Eras,   see  Ibn  Khali,  I,  366  :  see  Ibn  Khali,  I,  114  Tr). 

(2)  Kital-Mahasin,  ed  Schwally,  624  ff.     (3)    Yatimah,  III,  175  ff, 
(4)     Yatimah,   III,    175.     (5)    He     boasts   of  having  composed  (Rasa'il 
390,  516)  400  of  such   Maqamat,  of  which  none    resembled  the  other  in 
thought  or  expression.     The  number  400  is  not   to   be  taken  too  literally 
(Ras  74).     He  asserts  that  he  could   write  a  letter  in  400  different  ways. 
(6)  Yatimah,     III,   176.      The     Maqamat    are    not  dated       According 
to  al-Husri,   ( Iqd.,  1,  280)  the  Hamadaniya  is  said  to   have  been  dictated 
in  385/995  (Beymt,  KO  ff).    (7)  Ras,  390. 


250  THE    ItENAlSSANCE    OF    ISLAlvl 

the  grouping  of  scenes  round  one  single  individual,  Abu'l 
Fath  of  Alexandria.  The  niany-hued  stories  are  woven 
round  him  as  a  centre.  Here  a  new  vein  is  struck,  a  fresh 
beginning  made.  Only  a  step  was  required  to  attain  to 
Rogue-romances  of  the  lightest  and  subtlest  kind — such  as 
have  not  been  attained  even  today.  That  step  has  not  been 
taken.  They  failed,  not  because  they  lacked  the  power  of 
weaving  a  story,  for  that  power  abundantly  manifests  itself 
in  the  popiilar  stories,  but  because  the  Maqamat  became  a 
playground  of  rhetoric  where  a  logical  sequence  of  events 
was  a  matter  of  no  consequence.  They  only  developed  a 
taste  for  rhetorical  rockets  which  shot  forth  in  rapid  succe- 
ssion from  the  subject  under  treatment.  The  poems  of 
Hamadani  have  also  been  collected — typical  poems  of  a 
genuine  man  of  letters — completely  unlyrical,  brimming 
over  with  rhetoric,  redolent  of  deliberate  art  and  laboured 
wit/  He  beats  time  with  his  tears  to  the  song  of  the 
nightingale;  plays  artistic  pranks  \\ith  grammar,  even 
composes  a  poem  without  the  letter  w  (and) — a  feat  which 
Sahib  could  not  perform,  although  lit1  could  do  without  any 
other  single  letter  of  the  alphabet  in  a  poem.*  The 
anthology  of  Husri  (d,  453/1061)  sho\\s  how  Hamadani  out- 
distanced his  predecessors.  It  contains  long  extracts  from 
his  letters,  whereas  Khwarezmi  is  not  referred  to  at  all. 
Among  the  contemporaries  of  HUBI-I  was  Abu'l  'Ala  el- 
Ma'arri  (363-449/973-1057),  the  most  famous  of  prose 
writers.  Thus  writes  Nasir  Khusru  who  passed  through 
Ma'arra  in  428/1037  :  "  All  writers  of  Syria,  of  the  West,  of 
Mesopotamia,  agree  that  there  is  none  who  stands  on  the 
same  level  as  he.  One  of  his  writings  particularly  the 
traveller  extols,  in  which  he  has  displayed  such  eloquence 
and  powers  of  expression  that  one  can  only  partially 
understand  it  and  must  needs  have  recourse  to  him  for 
explanation." 

Such,  indeed,  was  the  ideal  of  good  prose  !  The  most 
amazing  subtleties  Abu'l  'Ala  reserved  for  his  poems,  bub 
even  in  his  letters  the  rhymed  sentences  are  much  shorter 
than  in  Hamadani,  the  comparisons  and  similes  are  far- 
fetched; in  fine,  the  rhetorical  artifices  so  overlay  the 
letters  that  often  it  is  difficult  to  decipher  the  meaning. 

Sometimes  a  comparison  takes  an  epic  turn  :  "  And 
my  grief  at  parting  from  you  is  like  that  of  the  turtle- 
dove, which  brings  pleasure  to  the  hot  listener,  retired  in  a 
thickly-leaved  tree  from  the  heat  of  the  summer,  like  a 

(1)     Printed  at  Cairo,  132J.     The  Paris  MS.     is  more  correct  and 
complete  :  Rasa'il,  890   (2)  Yatimah  III,  228  :  Diwan    Paris  fol.  54  a. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  251 

singer  behind  a  curtain,  or  a  great  man  hedged  off  from 
the  frivolous  conversation  of  the  vulgar  ;  with  a  collar  on 
his  neck  almost  burst  by  his  sorrow  ;  were  he  able,'  he 
would  wrench  it  witih  his  hand  off  his  neck,  out  of  grief  for 
the  companion  whom  he  has  abandoned  to  distress,  the 
omrade  whom  Noah  sent  out  and  left  to  perish,  over 
vhom  the  doves  still  mourn.  Varied  music  does  he  chant 
in  the  courts  publishing  on  the  branches  the  secrets  of  his 
hidden  woe,  etc.,  etc.'"  Here  wit  and  learned  allusions 
flash  out,  and  in  every  word  almost  we  hear  their  overt  or 
hidden  tone. 

The  longing  for  the  addressee  is  the  usual  preface  to 
letters.  Where  Hamadani  expresses  himself  in.  a  compa- 
ratively simple  fashion  :  "  I  need  thee  as  the  body  needs 
life,  the  fish  water,  and  the  land  rain  "  (RasVil,  8),  now 
the  turtle-dove  appears  or  some  other  uncommon  simile. 
"My  longing  for  all  I  have  seen  in  Baghdad  is  not  unlike 
the  wind  which  is  never  still  or  the  Persian  fire  whieh  is 
never  out.  I  need  you  like  the  verse  which  cannot  do 
without  rhyme;1'3  or  "  My  longing  for  my  master  is  as 
permanent  as  time,  which  is  not  exhausted  by  months  and 
years  and  as  often  as  one  period  clp.pses,  another  comes 
to  take  its  place";'*  "  I  await  thee  as  the  merchant  awaits 
the  caravan  from  Persia' V  "And  I  with  my  companions 
send  you  with  every  traveller  on  the  highway,  every 
wind  that  blows,  every  flash  of  lightning,  every  phantom 
that  crosses  the  path,  a  salutation."'5  The  art  of  flattery 
was  cultivated  to  perfection.  An  abstract  of  a  famous 
grammar  is  presented  and  'one  wonders  how  tho  Euphrates 
is  made  to  flow  through  a  needle's  eye'.  And  similarly 
a  letter  to  one  residing  in  HJgypt  thus  begins  :  "  If 
scholarship  emits  any  fragrance,  or  wit  any  flame,  even  at 
this  distance  we  have  felt  the  perfume  of  your  scholar- 
ship, and  your  wit  has  turned  our  darkness  into  day''' 

Your  letter  is  too  grand  to  be  kissed  ;  kisses  are  for  its 
shadow ;  too  precious  to  be  bandied  about,  let  that  be 

done  with  copies  !     For  us  it  is  a  sort  of  sacred  thing7 

.:.... The  abodes  wherein  you  take  up  your  residence  are 
like  those  northern  and  southern  constellations,  twenty- 
eight  in  number,  which  only  are  famous  because  the  moon 
takes  up  its  quarters  in  them,  and  to  which  in  consequence 
the  Arabs  ascribe  every  rain-bringing  mist."8  He  describes 
his  native  town  Ma'arra  to  one  proposing  a  visit  there  : 

(1)  Letters,  p.     47  Prof.     Margoliouth's  tr.  p.    54. 

[2]  Letter*,  p.  45.  [3]  Letters,  54,  Eng.  tr.  p.  60  :  [4]  Letters,  p.  36, 
[5]  Letters,  p.  88,  Eng.  tr.  p.  100  Tr.  [6]  Prof.  Margoliouth's  tr.  p.  1. 
[7]  Prof/  Margoliouth's  tr.  p.  3.  [8]  Prof,  Margoliouth's,  tr.  p.  7, 


252  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

"He  would  come  to  this  city  like  the  vulture,  who  is  a 
King  and  a  Chieftain  among  birds,  and  from  whose  limbs 
there  issues  a  musk-like  odour,  falling  on  a  foul  carcase' 
This  is  such  an  epithet  as  may  be  applied  to  Ma'arra, 
which  is  the  opposite  of  the  Paradise  described  by  the 
Quran,  'the  garden  which  is  promised  to  those  that  fear 
(Quran,  XL VII,  16)  wherein  arc  rivers  of  water  that  does 
not  corrupt.'  Her  very  name  'mischief  is  ominous ;  God 
save  us  from  it !  The  water-courses  are  blocked  up ;  and 
the  surface  of  its  mould  in  summer  is  dry.  It  has  no 
flowing  water,  and  no  trees  can  be  planted  there,  When 
a  slaughtered  beast  is  offered  to  the  inhabitants  by  which 
they  might  hope  to  profit,  you  would  fancy  that  it  had 
been  dyed  with  indigo,  yet  still  they  gaze  at  it  n-s  long- 
ingly as  at  the  new  moon  that  marks  the  end  of  the  fasting 
month.  And  there  comes  a  time  when  a  goat  there  is  as 
precious  as  Capricorn,  and  a  ram  of  inferior  breed  as  rare  as  a 
crow  with  two  chicks;  when  a  man  standing  by  a  milk- 
seller  fancies  himsolf  standing  in  Paradise  asking  for  the 
water  of  life." 

The  great  art  of  these  pyrotechnists  has  made  the 
language  uncommonly  supple  and  vigorous  while  terse, 
and  this  art  is  at  the  back  of  all  those  who  combined 
freedom  and  spontaneity  of  expression  with  utmost 
brevity  and  concentration.  In  this  sphere  Abu  Hayyan 
et-Tauhidi  (d.  400/1009)  stands  unexcelled.  He  is,  one 
sees,  conversant  with  the  secrts  of  the  elegant  style,  but 
there  is  little  trace  of  mannerism  in  him.  A  simpler,  a 
more  balanced,  a  more  forcible  prose  has  never  been  written 
in  the  Arabic  language.  Bat  fashion  favoured  and  honour 
fell  to  the  other  style.  Abu  Hayyan  stands  alone,  in 
advance  of  his  age  and  his  people.  Says  he :  Excep- 
tional is  my  position,  exceptional  my  language,  excep- 
tional my  beliefs  and  manners.  I  am  wedded  to  loneli- 
ness ;  to  solitude  and  silence  I  am  resigned.  Familiar 
with  affliction,  I  patiently  endure  grief.  I  distrust  man- 
kind. Often  have  I  prayed  in  the  mosque  without  noticing 
my  neighbour  and,  whenever  I  did  notice,  I  found  him  a 
shop-keeper,  a  tripe-man,  a  dealer  in  cotton  or  a  butcher 
who  sickned  me  with  his  stench."'  Towards  the  end  of 
his  life  he  burnt  his  books/  for  "  I  have  no  child,  no  friend, 
no  pupil,  no  master  and  would  not  leave  my  books  to 
people  who  would  trade  with  them  and  smirch  my  honour. 

IfJ  Letters,  p.  61-62.  (2)  Fi's-Sadaqah,  Const.  130.  p.  5.  [3]  See 
Prof.  Margoliouth's  drab  Historians  pp.  96,  97.  There  is  a  letter  of  Abu 
Hayyan  of  about  400  A.  H.  wherein  he  defends  his  conduct  in 
doing  this  by  citing  the  example  of  many  eminent  men.  TrJ. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  253 

How  am  I  to  leave  my  books  behind  to  those  with  whom 
I  have  lived  for  twenty  years  without  receiving  love  or 
regard;  by  whom,  often  and  often,  I  have  been  driven  tc 
privation  and  hunger  and  galling  dependence  or  reduced 
to  the  necessity  of  bartering  away  my  faith  and  honour".7 
He  put  so  much  venom  and  sarcasm  in  his  'Book  of  Two 
Wazirs  that  people,  for  long,  believed  that  it  would  bring 
ill-luck  to  him  who  owns  it. 

The  decline  of  pure  Arab  taste  is  finally  evidenced  by 
the  fact  that  from  the  3rd/9th  century  onward  the  delight- 
ful stories  of  other  nations  fill  a  large  space  in  Arabic 
literature2.  Jewish  legends  (Israiliyah)  and  sea-fables 
had  hitherto  supplied  the  need  ;  but  fresh  translations 
from  Persian  and  Indian  are  added  to  them — the  most 
important  being  the  'Thousand  and  One  Niylittf  or,  as 
they  were  then  called  by  their  Persian  title,  '  Thousand 
fables'  (tiazar  Afsav).  They  consisted  of  '200  stories 
spread  over  1,000  nights1.  Those  accustomed  to  inflated 
and  ornate  prose  found  the  new  style  '  dry  and  insipid ' 
(Filirist,  304).  The  great  Abu'l  'Ala  speaks  slightingly  of 
Kalila  Wa  Damna  (Kasa'il,  120).  The  new  an -Arab  style 
was  really  meant  for  foreigners,  and  yet  savants  and  authors 
of  repute  did  not  consider  it  unworthy  of  them  to  write 
simple  historical  works  for  entertainment. 

The  well-known  writer  Ibn  Abdus  el-.Tahshijari  imitat- 
ed the  ' Thousand ^and  One  Nights  but  died  when  he  had 
got  to  480  nights.  The  striking  thing  about  him  is  that 
he  disregarded  the  interweaving  of  the  stories,  precisely 
the  thing  so  appealing  and  attractive  to  us/'  He  brought 
every  story  to  an  end  each  night.  To  this  class  belong  the 
entertaining  works  of  the  Qadi  et-Tanukhi  (d.  384/994), 
and,  finally,  the  most  important  work  of  the  century — 
Miskawaihi's  (d.  420/1029)  Uns  el-Far  id  (Companion  of  the 
Lonely),  the  finest  book  of  stories  and  anecdotes.  (Kifti, 
881  £0.  

[1]  Irshady  V,387  f.  [2]  Tradition  says  that  Quraish  were  famous 
for  their  ready  reply  and  the  Arabs  generally,  The  non-Arab  could  only 
answer  them  after  deliberation  and  effort.  [Amali  of  Murtada,  1,  177]. 

[3]  Were  the  stories  of  Sindbad  there  ?  They  existed  independ- 
ently of  these  '  thousand  fables  '  in  large  or  smaller  versions  and  were 
known  even  then  to  have  come  from  India  [Mas'udi,  IV,  90  Fihrist  805]. 
Suii,  at  the  beginning  of  the  4th/10th  century  [Auraq,  Paris  4836,  9), 
and  the  poet  Ibn  al-Hajjaj  [d.  391/1,000  Gotha,  fol,  11  a]  speak  of  them 
as  particularly  popular  fictions.  An  Indian  physician  Sindbad  is  said 
to  have  been  the  author.  Their  contents  were  : — The  Seven  Wazirs,  The 
Teacher  and  Hie  Boy,  and  Tlie  Wife  of  the  King  Mas'udi,  I,  162  :  Eng.  Tr. 
I,  l75,Tr.  [4]  Mez  means  the  process  of  inserting  one  story  in  another;  Tr, 


254  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

There  are  other  collections  still  older,  such  as  those  of 
Ibn  Kutaiba  and  the  'Iqd.  In  them,  for  the  first  time, 
we  notice  a  style  of  story-telling  not  purely  Arab.  Along 
with  these,  there  grew  up  a  whole  host  of  anonymous 
books  :  Romances  of  chivalry  like  those  of  'Urwah  ibn 
'Abdullah  and  the  limping  Abu  'Omar;  books  of  witticism 
and  anecdotes  such  as  those  of  Jiha,  the  Bedutn  wag,  and 
of  Ibn  Ma'rnili,  the  famous  singer.;  comical  books  such  as 
those  of  the  man  who  fell  in  love  with  a  cow,  the  stories  of 
the  'cat  and  the  mouse'  (Suli,  Auraq,  p.  9),  of  the  bird- 
lime, of  the  well  scented  one,  and  a  heap  of  love-tales, 
first  and  foremost  among  them  being  the  romances  of 
poets  and  of  cunning  and  passionate  women. 

Love-stories  between  men  and  demons  also  fill  n,  large 
space/  The  historian  Hamzah  of  Isfahan  speaks  of  some 
seventy  widely-read  books  of  amusement  in  his  time,  about 
850/961.'  There  were  love-stories  too  of  the  elegant  world 
of  maudlin  sentimentality.  They  evinced  groat  enthusiasm 
for  Udhrah,  who  "  dies  when  he  loves,"  and  for  the  pale, 
sunken  hero  whoso  very  bones  wither  away  for  love's 
longing." 

And  thore  Arabic  prose  has  remained  up  to  this  day ! 
2  POETRY. 

THE  great  towns  of  Mesopotamia  were  the  centres  of 
the  new  school  of  poetry.  Bashshar  b.  Burd  of  Basra 
(d.  168/781)  was  regarded  as  its  founder''.  He  was  the 
son  of  a  digger.  He  was  stone-blind  bat  tall  and  well- 
built,  and  his  listeners  burst  into  laughter  when,  in  a  love 
poem,  he  referred  to  himself  as  one  so  worn  out  by  love's 
woes,  as  to  be  blown  away  by  a  breath  of  wind.5  Before 
reciting,  he  clapped  his  hands,  cleared  his  throat,  spat 


[1]     Fihrist,  303-313.  [2]  Annales,  ed.  Gottwald,  41,     [3]  Mmvassa, 
42  ff. 

(4)  (Ibn  Khali.,  vol.  1,  254  ;  Nicholson,  Lit.  Hist,  of  the  Arabs  (1st 
Ed.)  p.  373   Tr.).     Mamibani  (d.   378)   wrote  a  lengthy   history    of  the 
modern  poets.     He  placed  Bashshar  first  and   Ibn  al-Mu'tazz  last  on 
the  list  (see  Prof.    Margoliouth's  Arab  Historians,  p.  79  Tr.)  Fihrit,  132 
Ibn    Khallad    sings:     The  moderns  whom  Bashshar  leads'   (Yatimah, 
III,  235).     He  calls  him  'father  of  the  moderns  '  (Hamzah  el-Isfahani 
in  the  Diwan  of  Abu  Nuwas,  p.  10:  Al-Husri,   Margin  of  'Iqd,  p.  21). 

(5)  Aghani,  III,   2*>,  65.      Some   one   found   him,    resting    in  the 
passage  of  his  house,  like  a  buffalo.'     Ibid,  56, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Ofr  ISLAM          .255 

right  and  left,  and  then  began1. 

Then,  at  Basra,  every  lad  and  every  girl  in  love  sang 
Bashshar's  songs ;  every  wailing  woman  and  every  song- 
stress made  money  thereby  ;  every  man  of  importance  feared 
and  dreaded  his  tongue  (Af/hani,  III,  26).  Even  to  Bagh 
dad  he  went  and  declaimed  Qatidahs  before  the  Caliph 
Al-Mahdi.  He  is  said  to  have  composed  12,000  Qa*ida\\*. 
Like  the  ancient  poets  he  sang  in  purest  Arabic.  To  the 
Bedouins  of  the  tribe  of  Qais  Allan,  then  encamping  at 
Basrah,  he  recited  his  poems.  He  was  so  conversant  with 
the  intricacies  of  the  language  that  philologists  cited  him 
as  an  authority  (Afghani,  III,  52).  Bashshar  was  over 
sixty  or  seventy  years  of  age  and  had  the  misfortune  of 
losing  all  his  friends  before  his  death.  "  Only  people 
remained  who  knew  not  what  language  was  ".  On  account 
of  a  venomous  verse  he  was  beaten  to  death  by  order  of  the 
Caliph,  and  his  body  thrown  into  the  Tigris.  The  body 
was  eventually  recovered,  and  his  bier  wras  accompanied  to 
the  grave  only  by  his  black  slave-girl  crying  Wa  Sayyidal 
W<i  Sayyida  !  (O  my  master  !  0  my  master!). 

But  all  this  was  old  style.  They  found  no  new  forms 
scarcely  even  fresh  materials  What  they  did  do  was  to 
introduce  into  poetry  ilowers  of  trimmed  gardens  instead 
of  heather  blossoms'.  Instead  of  the  wild  ass  they  sang 
of  th9  goat,  as  did  Qasku,  brother  of  the  famous  Katib 
ibn  Yusuff''.  Or  of  the  domestic  cat,  as  did  Ibn  al-Allaf 
(d.  318/930)'. 

But  if  nothing  else,  one  thing  certainly  was  new — the 
ingenuity  which  now  characterises  Arab  poetry.  (The 


(l)  Ayhaui,  III,  22.  The  poet  Bahturi  also  behaved  very  dis- 
gustingly at  the  recitation  of  his  poems.  He  walked  up  and  down  the 
room,  backwards  and  forwards,  shook  his  head  and  shoulders,  stretched 
out  his  arm  and  shouted:  'Beautiful,  by  God!'  and  attacked  his  audi- 
ence, calling  out  to  them  :  'Why  do  you  not  applaud  ?'  (Yaqut  Irshad 
VI,  404).  In  the  4th/10th  century  there  were  poets  even  in  the  provinces 
who  simulated  the  ecstatic  emotions  of  the  poets  of  former  times.  One 
such  appeared  at  Mosul  with  his  -  face  smeared  with  red  earth,  dressed 
in  a  red  felt  mantle,  with  a  red  turban,  a  red  stall  in  his  hand,  red  shoes 
(Shaljushti,  Kit-sd-diyamt,  Berlin,  fol.  86  b).  For  the  life  of  Buhturi  see 
Ibn  Khali.,  Vol.  Ill,  657,  74). 

(-2)     IbnRash'q,  'Umdah.  150.     (3)     Aghani,  XX,  56,    (4)  Damiri, 

II,  321.     That  famous  poem  is  a  long  elegy  on  a  cat.     Some  took  it  to  be 
an  elegy  on  his  royal  friend  and  poet,  the  slain  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz  for  whom, 
from  sheer  fear,  the  poet  substititel  a  cat.     Others  would  have  it  that  a 
slave  of  the  poet   who  fell  in  love   with  a  slave  girl  of  the  wazir  was 
meant  by  it.  They  were  both  killed.    By  the  cat  crawling  into  the  dove-cot 
the  slave  was  meant.     (Abu'l  Fida,  Annals,  year  318).  Ibn  al-Amid  later 
wrote  a  poem  on  the  cat  in  which  he  emulated  the  glory  of  Allaf  (Yatimah, 

III,  23 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

word  *  Tayyib '  now  comes  into  fashion  and  is  a  favourite 
word  of  Jahiz.  Van  Vloten  :  Lime  des  Avares,  p.  111). 
It  was  the  manifest  result  of  a  decadent  culture,  inevitable 
consequence  of  the  lead  taken  by  the  heterogeneous  popu- 
lation of  the  great  towns.  And  precisely  the  same  happen- 
ed in  prose.  The  passion  for  things  new  and  interesting 
destroyed  once  and  for  all  the  taste  for  bardic  lay.  Jahiz 
is  praised  as  the  creator  of  this  new  style  in  prose  because 
he  alternated  between  moods  gay  and  serious.  In  Bash- 
shar,  father  of  the  new  poetry,  what  delighted  the  philo- 
logist Abu  -ZTaid  more  than  anything  else  was  his  mastery 
over  things  both  serious  and  gay  ;  whereas  in  the  old 
masters  naught  but  one  mood,  gay  or  serious,  manifested 
itself. 

Similarly  Asma'i  applauded  the  versality  of  Bashshar;~ 
whereas  Ishaq  al-Mausili  fanatical  admirer  of  the  old  style, 
thought  little  of  him.  He  found  fault  with  Bashshar  for 
great  disparity  in  his  writings  :  notes  lofty  and  notes  trivial 
subsisting  side  by  side.  The  poet  once  compared  the  bones 
of  Sulaima  to  Sugar-cane  adding  that  if  an  onion  were 
brought  near  them  its  odour  would  be  overpowered  by  that 
of  the  musk;7 

The  older  poets  regarded  witticism  as  a  false  note  in 
poetry.  Now,  however,  it  gains  ground.  In  poetry  the 
shibboleth  of  the  3rd/9th  century  was  '  originality '  or 
*  innovation'  (bida'),  something  unlike  others/'  One  of 
the  outstanding  poets  of  the  age,  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz,  actually 
wrote  a  book  on  this  subject.5 

As  in  all  u ingenious "  poetry  thought  preponderates; 
HO  what  they  wanted  was  expressiveness  and  all  sorts  of 
allusions  in  the  verse.  And  thus  the  ideas  (ma'ani)  to 
which  Bashshar  and  his  followers  naw  gave  currency  were 
ideas  which  had  never  found  a  place  in  the  Pagan  or  even 
the  Islamic  poets  of  earlier  times.6  And  in  this  sphare 
Bashshar  was  supreme  for  "  he  not  only  accepted  what 
nature  and  talent  offered  him  but  searched  for  the  very 
root  of  ideas,  the  mines  of  truths,  and  niceties  of  compari- 
sons and  used  them  with  a  powerful  mind". 

As  a  typical  specimen  of  modernity  were  regarded  the 
blind  poet's  verses  addressed  to  the  voice  of  one  of  the 
women  who  talked  with  him  : — 

(l)  Aglwni,  III,  25.  (2)  Aykani,  III,  24.  (3)  Aghani,  III,  28  (4)  Etynio- 
logically  allied  to  the  words  for  'to  be  alone  'and  'to  begin*.  (6)  This  bcok 
(Kit  al'had?)  was  an  anthology  of  bacchanalian  piecese,  the  first  important 
work  on  poetics.  Nicholson,  Lit.  Hist,  cf  the  Arabs,  p.  325  (1st  Edn  ). 
(Tr.).  (6J  Uwdah  of  Ibn  Rashiq,  Cairo,  II,  185. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  'Jo7 

"  You  people,  my  ear  loves  one  of  the  tribe, 
u  And  often  in  love  the  uar  takes  precedence  of  the  eye. 
*l  They  say  s  Foolishly  you  rave  of  her  whom  you  have 

not  seen. 

"  To   them  I  reply  ;  To   the   heart  the  ear  speaks  as 

effectively  as  the  eye  ". 

And  this  very  idea  is  simplified  and  intensified  in 
another  passage : — 

Ci  How  foolishly  you  talk  ?     You  have   never   seen  her! 

'*  To  them  T  say  :  Tho  heart  sees  what  the  eye  Bees 
not"'. 

Ordinarily  they  spoke  of  rosy  cheeks,  but  now  one  is 
enraptured  to  hear  the  roses  likened  to  "  cheeks  closely 
pressing  each  other  "^.  The  witty  poem  of  Ibn  Rumi** 
(d.  280/89;)),  addressed  to  one  who  had  his  hair  cropped, 
"  his  face  grows  at  the  expense  of  his  head  like  the  summer 
day  at  the  expense  of  the  night  ",  secured  the  warmest 
applause  ;  the  night  and  the  day  referring  respectively  to  the 
black  hair  and  the  shining  skin  of  the  head*.  Extreme  in 
his  views,  Ibn  Rumi  (i.e.,  son  of  a  Greek)  declared  Bashshar 
to  be  the  greatest  poet  of  all  times5 — a  statement  which 
staggered  the  philologists  of  his  age.  And  yet  200  years  later 
the  critic  Ibn  Rashiq  (d.  463/1071)  proclaimed  Bashshar 
the  most  brilliant  of  modern  poets.  'He  made  beautiful 
what  he  wanted',  said  Ibn  Rashiq  referring  to  the  poem 
quoted  above*.  Bashshar' s  example  gave  a  lively  impetus 
to  gifted  poets  to  develop  their  own  powers  of  observation 
and  expression,  and  to  keep  off  the  beaten  track. 

To  this  new  vein  we  owe  that  effortless  sweetness 
which  marks  Bashshar1  s  elegy  on  his  little  girl : — 

"0  daughter  of  him  who  had  wished  for  no  daughter, 

"Only  five  or  six  were  you 

"When  eternal  leave  you  took  of  me, 

"Shattering  my  heart  to  pieces  for  love  of  you. 

"Fain  would  I  have  had  you  a  boy, 

"Drinking  at  dawn,  flirting  at  eventide7". 

And  again  in  the  poem  on  the  girl  bidding  farewell : — 

"  Lo  !  She  suppressed  a  sob  and  white  were  her  tears 
"On  her  cheeks  and  yellow  were  they  on  her  neck8". 

And  to  this  vein  again  we  owe  such  forcible  images  as  the 

(1)  'Umdahl88.  A  third [variant  in  Aghani  III,  67.  The  popular 
Btyle:11!  said— they  aud— "  'Omar  ibn  Abi  Rabi'ah  developed.  (2)  Sha- 
bnshti,  MS.,  Berlin,  fol.  6  b.  (3)  (Ibn  Khali.,  II,  29  Tr.).  (4)  Umdah, 
II,  187.  (6)  Hamza  al-Isfahani  in  the  Diwan  of  Abu  Nuwas.  (6)  TJmdaht 
IBS,  \94.  (7)  Aghani ,  Ilf,  63.  (8)  Hdbet  d- Kuwait  191 


258  THK     RKNAI&8ANGK   OF  ItiLAU 

one   in    \bu  Nuwas   (d.   circa    195/810),  recalling  our  own 
popular  songs  to  mind'  : — 

"Love   plays    with    my   heart  not   unlike  a  cut  with  a 


mouse"". 


Or  the  imposing  metaphor    in  Ibn    al-Mu'tazz    (d.  296/ 
909)  :— 

"  A  thunder-roll  in  the  distance,  like  the  Amir's  speech 

from  the  hill-top  to  the  people ?" 
And  again  : 

"  I  have  committed  my  soul  to  God's  keeping  and  there 
it  rests  like  a  sword  in  the  scabbard''". 

And  once  again  in  a  song  of  the  spring  which  begins  : — 

"  Behold  !  the  spring  approaches,   not   unlike   tho   fail- 
ones,  decked  out  for  their  lovers  !" 
The  verse  : 

"The   cupping-glass  of  the  yellow   truffle  shows   itself, 

and  all  over  is  tho  carnival  of  life5". 
Or: 

"He  visited  me  in  absolute  darkness  when  the   Pleiads, 

like  a  bunch  of  grapes,  hung  in  the  west6". 
Or: 

"Against  iny  will  I  tarried  helpless  like  one   in  an   old 
woman's  embrace7". 

Not   infrequently  do   these  great   poets   become  much  too 
original.     Thus  Abu  NU was  on  a  jilted  girl  :— 

"And  a  tear  adorned  her.     And  out  of  her  tears  a  cheek 

grew  on  her  cheeks  and  a  neck  on  her  neck81'. 
Or: 

"The  new   moon   is  like  a  silver  crescent  moving  the 

Narcissus,  the  flowers  of  darkness9". 
Or  of  the  rainbow  : 

"The  hands  of  the  cloud  have  flung  a  grey  veil   on   the 

earth, 

uAnd  the  rainbow  has  adorned  it  with  colours,   yellow, 

red,  green  and  white. 

(1)  He  grew  up  at  Basra  and  had  taken  Bashshar  as  his  model 
Hamza  al-Isfahani  in  the  Diwan  of  Abu  Nuwas.  Jahiz  regarded  him  as 
the  most  important  poet  after  Bashshar  and  so  did  Ibn  Bumi  (Intr  to 
the  Cairene  Ed.  of  the  Diwan  of  Abu  Nuwas,  91).  (2)  Diwan,  Vienna 
MS,,  fol.  176b.  (3)  Diwan,  Cairo,  I,  15.  Abu  Tammam,  Diwan.  370. 
(4)  Ibn  al-Mu  tazz,  1, 16.  (6)  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz,  II,  34.  (6)  Ibid,  II,  110. 
(7)  Ibid,  II,  122.  (8)  Diwan  Qairo,  p.  8.  (9)  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz,  Diwan. 
II,  122, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  259 

"It  resembles   the   train  of  a  fair  one   who  comes  in 
coloured  mantles,  one  shorter  than   the  other  "   (Ibn 
al-Kumi  in  Ibn  Rashiq,  'Umdah,  IT,  184). 

Striving  after  uncommon  metaphors  and  similes  marks 
the  entire  poetry  of  the  4th/10th  century.  It  powerfully 
stimulated  the  tendency  to  penetrate  into  the  most  hidden 
secrets  of  things  and  to  see  the  oddest  peculiarities  in  them. 
Above  everything  else  we  note  the  function  of  plastic  art 
assigned  to  poetry.  Much  of  it  is  pure  word-painting. 
Sheer  visual  pleasure  now  gains  the  upper  hand,  bringing  in 
its  train  the  desire  to  see  things  artistically  and  to  express 
them  clearly.  This  the  genuine  Arab  had  never  known. 
But  the  fashion  set  by  them  place  the  reed-pen  instead 
of  the  brush  in  the  hands  of  a  people  of  very  different 
temperament.  And  these  now  become  the  exponents  of 
the  new  style.  The  Rifat-  -descriptions,  which  Abu  Tarn- 
mam,  in  the  Vllth  Chapter  of  his  Anthology  of  the  Arab 
poets,  disposes  of  in  a  few  lines,  have  immensely  developed. 
Very  cursorily  indeed  did  the}  Arab  poets  deal  with  land- 
scapes. They  dealt,  instead,  as  was  their  practice  from  time 
immemorial,  with  wine,  with  the  description  of  the  dull, 
rainy  day  when  drink  was  particularly  delightful/  Even 
later  poets  h^ve  given  us  the  subtlest  comparisons  in  this 
sphere.  Ibri  Rurni  : 

uTho  overcast  heaven  was  like  the  darkest  silk, 
"And  the  earth  like  the  greenest  damask  ".8 
And  the  Wazir  Muhallabi  fondly  sings  :  — 
"The  heaven  looked  like  a  dark  stallion/' 

In  the  older  days  they  preferred  their  carouses  at  night 
or   the   earliest   dawn  :  "  when    the   cook   crows,    hand   the 
morning  draught  'V' 

(1)     Ibn  iil-Mn'tazz,  Diwan,  II,  122. 


wo  find  those  as  constant  themes  in  Eastern  poetry, 
tv^lt^tv*?  jjf<tf  s^^U.f  -^          «^»f  )U*£  5 

And  cur  Indian  Foots  : 

*J  *?• 


(2)     Yatimah,  II,  21.   (3)   Ibn  al-Mn'tazz,  II,  33. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

In  the  few  passages  whore  the  drinking-songs  of  Abu 
Nuwas  give  details  we  invariably  find  : 

"  The  morning  has  rent   the   veil  of  darkness  '\  or 
some  such  thing/ 

A  hundred  years  later,  Ibn  al-Mu'taKX  gives  most 
variants  on  this  subject  :  — 

"  Arise,   carousing  boon  companions,  lot  us  take  the 

morning  draught  in  darkues  for  the   dawn   is  well- 

Or  :  nigh  on  us  !" 

"  In   the   heaven   1  see  the   Pleiades  like  a  bare  foot 

emerging  from  a  mourning  dress  "v' 
And  again  : 

'*  Above  the  crescent  of  the  new  moon  the  whole 
zodiac  is  visible  like  the  head  of  a  negro  with  a 
grey  beard  " "' 

But  just  about  the  time  of  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz,  this  re- 
markable carousing  hour  was  getting  out  of  fashion.  The 
poet  ridicules  it  as  unsuitable  :  "  When  the  shivering  wind 
blows,  the  saliva  freezes  in  the  mouth,  the  servant  curses, 
and  cares  capture  the  heart  ".'' 

In  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz,  love  for  natural  scenery  begins 
to  assert  its  chim  in  drinking-songs.  The  wine-bibber 
begins  now  to  enjoy,  with  his  drink,  the  »reen  of  the  garden, 
now  to  enjoy,  with  his  drink,  the  green  of  the  gardens, 
the  trees,  the  roses,  the  narcissus,  the  singing  birds,  and 
in  the  spring  the  feast  of  life1,  (l)iwan,  11,  34,  51,  110). 

And  in  the  first  half  of  tho  4th/10th  century  two 
Syrian  poets,  both  friends,  developed  the  poety  of  the 
garden  a?»d  its  myriad  eiinmm  and  carried  it  to  its  highest 
point. 

Mohammad  Ibn  Ahmed7  Abu  Bakr,  born   in   Antioch, 


(1)  Diwan,  349.  The  first  two  verses  of  the  poein  are  quite  modest: 
The  time  is  happ\ .  the  trees  are  &reen,  the  winter  is  over,  and  March 
ha*  come".  The  talk  of  green  gardens  and  singing  birds  does  not  exactly 
fit  in  with  what  follows.  They  nro  obviously  subsequent  interpolations. 
And  such  also  is  the  ci*o  with  the  Bnttle  of  Flowers' which  Mas'ndi 
(VITI,  407)  ascribes  to  Alu  Nm\as  It  is  r.ot  to  1  e  found  in  his  Dhran 
and  comes  from  a  later  time. 

(2j  Diwan,  IF,  37. 

(3)   Ibn  al-Mu'tasz,  JJ,  110. 

U)  Di wan,  II,  HOff.  (Tho  winclrblers  in  the  Mast  have  n-v<r 
really  giye.,  yip  tho  early  nioming-drau«ht,  which  they  consider  the  best 
of  all  drinks.) 

m    o'Jcrt™! lncc?1>Jiu«. rto,  Fil"'*><  ICS-     AccoHliue  to    AU'l  Mahasin 
II    312):    Almieclilm    Molmmuied  ibn   al-Hasan   al-Dullj.      Aeooi-dinu 
toYaqnUII,  811):  Moh.   ibn  al-Hasan  I,.  Marrar.    According  to  Kuttibi 
(I,  61):  Ahmed  ibn  Mohftnimed. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM  361 

was  the  Librarian  of  Saif-ud-Daulahy.  His  surname  As — 
Sanaubari  suggests  that  either  he  or  his  father  was  a  cutter 
of  pine-wood J.  HP.  was  also  called  c  Skittle  '  on  account 
of  his  figure  (Mafatih  el-'Ulum,  ed.  Van  VJoten,  207).  The 
second  sumaiuo  Al-Sini.  the  Chinese,  does  not  necessarily 
imply  that  he  was  personally  in  China,  in  Kufa  a  mer- 
chant who  traded  with  China  was  so  called  (Yaqut,  III, 
444).  He  died  in  334/945,  being  at  least  fifty  years  of  age 
(Abu'l  Mahasiu,  II,  31-2  ;  Yaqut,  II,  664).  Of  'bis  life  we 
only  know  that  ho  was  friendly  with  the  poet  Kushajini 
to  whom  he  was  a  stream  of  boundless  beneficence  (Diwan, 
of  Kushajini  (Beyrut,  1213)  p.  116)  ;  that  Kushajim  married 
one  of  his  (laughters  (Diwan,  74  f.)  and  comforted  him  at 
the  death  of  another  who  died  unmarried  (Diwan,  71). 
He  sang  chiefly  of  Aleppo  and  Raqqah,  the  two  capitals  of 
Saif-ud-Uaulah.  But  he  also  resided  at  Edenna,  where,  at 
the  house  of  a  book-dealer,  he  used  to  meet  a  circle  of 
Syrian,  Egyptian  and  Mesopotamia!!  literati.  (Yaqut, 
Irshatlj  II,  23).  At  Aleppo  he  owned  a  garden  with  a 
summer-house  full  of  plants  and  trees,  flowers  and  oranges. 
(Diwan  of  Kushajim,  74).  For  this  ho  was  called  Al- 
Halabi.  Toe  Young  for  the  Aglutni  and  too  old  for  the 
YatiwaJi,  his  Diwan,  which  was  once  alphabetically  arra- 
nged in  200  folios  by  Suli,  has  been  split  up  into  fragments 
and  does  not  exist  except  in  small  selections.  The  frag- 
ments had  therefore  to  be  collected  from  all  quarters. 

On  a  bod   of   blood-rod    anemones   fringed   by  pale  red 
roses: — 

"Roses   (uicompasH    the   anemones    in    your    beautiful 
garden,  not  unlike  human  faces  gazing  at  a  conflagration  "'. 

l'Whei?    the   red   anemones   wave   up   and  down,  thov 
resemble  hyacinth  banners  tied  to  emerald  shafts*". 
And  again  Spring  in  the  garden: — 

"Jliheand    ga/e,  O    Gazelles,    the   flower-beds   revel 

their  miracles  ! 

"The    spring   has   rent    the   veil  which  had  wrapped 

their  faces  divine. 

(\)    Our ul i  Matali  el~Budur,  II  l7f>. 

(2)  At  Hisn  et-Tinat,  by  the  sea  near   Alexandria,  many  pine-forests 
were  cut  down  and  pines  shipped  to  Syria  and  E^ypt  (Ibn    Haukal,   221) 
Also   there  was  a  pine  forest,    12   square   miles,  south   of    Beyrnt  along 
Lebanon,— Idrisi,  23. 

(3)  Shabushti,  MS.,  Berlin,  fol.  96. 

(4)  Khafaji,  Eaihanat  el-alibba,  256. 


'262  itiK  HENAIHtiANCK  OF  ISLAM 

"  Roses  like  cheeks,   narcissus  like  eyes,  which  greet 

the  loved  ones. 

"  AnemoneB,  like  silver  mantles,  witii  blank  legends  ; 
cypresses  like  singing-girls  tucked  up  to  the  knee  ; 
one  looks  like  a  gentle  maiden  playing  with  her 
companions  at  midnight.  The  gentle  breeze  has 
made  the  brook  tremble  and  filled  it  with  leaves. 
Had  I  the  power  to  guard  the  garden — no  mean 
soul  would  ever  tread  its  soil1  ". 

Sanaubari  regards  the  narcissus  as  the  "Queen  of 
flowers", —"camphor  eye-lids  fringe  the  saffron  eyes"". 
And  indeed,  narcissus  is  the  chief  flower  of  Syria  which 
not  infrequentely  completely  whitens  its  meadows''.  Even 
of  a  'Battle  of  Flowers'  ho  has  sung  in  which  the  rose,  the 
self-satisfied  lily,  the  anemone  c wh(5so  cheeks  bear  the 
scar  of  warfare'  the  violet  in  mourning  attire  and  the  car 
nation  as  war-crier  march  in  the  cover  of  the  whirling 
duflt  against  the  narcisftus, — until  the  poet,  anxious  for  his 
favourite,  unites  them  all  peacefully  in  a  salon  where 
'birds  and  harps  sing  M. 

In  the  previous  century  Buhturi  (ibn  Khali.,  Vol.  J1I. 
657)  had  sung  of  a  lake  in  the  Caliph's  palace  : 

"  The    envoys   of  water  discharge  therein  hastening 

from  the  starting  line. 

"  'Tin  as  if  white  silver  flowing  out  of  ingots  were  run- 
ning in  its  channels.  When  the  wind  passes  over  it,  it 
produces  billows  like  cuirasses  with  polished  edges. 

"  At  night  when  the  stars  are  reflected   therein — we 
might   take   it   for   the   starry  heaven  ;  only  fishes,  instead 
of  birds,  fly  therein  "  (Diwan,  1,  17,  Mes;  has   mistaken  the 
sense  of  these  lines.     Prof.  Margoliouth,  Tr.) 
But  sis  a  poet  of  gardens  he  adds  : 

"  And  the  iloweis  shine  like  stars — now   in    clusters, 
now  single  and  apart  "  (Iqd.  I,  183). 

(1)  Al-Kutubi,  1,  fil  and  Tha'alibi,  Kit.  man    Gaha.  25  (For   his   life 
Seelbn  Khali.,  Vol.  II,  p.  129,  Tr ). 

(2)  Kiittibi,  Ftiwat  rl-Wafayat,  (Cairo,  1299,)  I,  GJ. 

(3)  Nasir  Khnsru,  ed.   Schefer.  Tr.    39  ;    Schefer  reminds  us    of   the 
Narcissus-island  of  tbo  Syrian  Tripoli. 

(4)  Ivatubi    in    Mas'ndi  VIII,   407;  a   'Battle  of   flowers'  is  ascribed 
to  Abu    Nuwas   in   which   ivd   flowers  (Kose,   Pomegranate  and   Apple- 
bloom)   oppose  the  yellow  ones   (Narcissus,   Camelia,   Citron).     For   in- 
ternal reasons  this  cannot  bo  accepted  as  correct.     The  poem,   morever, 
is  not  to  be  found  in   the  Beyrut   edition  of    the  Diwan.    Nor  can   tho 
poem   be  ascribed    to  Sanaubari    for    the  Mesopotamian  vineyard    of 
Batumnga  plays  a  role  therein  and  the  rose  is  preferred  to  narcissus. 


THK  RENAISSANCE    OF    ISLAM  263 

The  first  landscape  poet  of  Arabic  literature  is  equally 
a  passionate  lover  of  the  sky,  of  light  and  air,  with  an  eye 
for  their  sweet  secrets. 

A  song  of  the  spring  : 

"When  there  is  fruit  in  the  summer,  the  earth  is  aglow 
and  the  air  shimmers  with  light. 

"When  in    autumn    the  plain  trees   shed   their   leaves, 
naked  is  the  earth,  stark  the  air. 

"And  when   in    winter  rain   comes  in   endless   torrent, 

the  earth  seems  besieged  and  the  air  a  captive. 
"The   only   time  is  the  time  of   the  radiant  spring,   for 

it  brings  flowers  and  joy. 
"Then   the   earth  is   a   hyacinth,  the  air   a   pearl,    the 

plants     turquoises,   and    water   crystal." 
He  was  the  first  to  sing  of  snow  : — 

"Gild  the  cup  with  wine,  lad,  for  it  is  a  silvery  day. 
"Veiled  in   white  is  the  air,   bedecked  in   pearls,  a& 

though  in  bridal  display. 
ul)o  you  take  it  for  snow  ?    No,  it  is  a  rose   trembling 

on  the  bough. 
"Coloured   is   the  rose   of   spring,   white   the  rose  of 

December."7 

Sanaubari  .has  left  his  mark  on  Arabic  literature. 
There  is,  to  begin  with,  his  countryman  Kushajim/  who 
followed  in  the  footsteps  of  his  more  renowned  friend — 
namely,  the  path  of  visual  delights.  Kushajira  was  at- 
tached to  Sanaubari  like  water  and  wine.  Sworn  friends 
in  sunshine  and  gloom ;  comrades  of  joy,  sober  and  riot- 
ous ;  to  be  seen  in  the  heaven  of  fine  arts  like  sun  and 
moon  in  harmony  like  lute  and  flute.'3  Thus  sings  Kusha- 
jim  : 

"In  a  blue  garment  she  came,  that  blue  which  we  call 
'running  water' 

"A  full  moon  is  she,  and  in  the  colour  of  heaven  re- 
splendently  she  shines." J 

He^calls  a  girl  in  violet-mourning  dress  'a  rose  in  vio- 
let', and  of  ft  mourning  youth  he  thus  sings  : — He  rent 
his  cheeks  until  its  roses  veiled  themselves  in  violets/ 


[1]  Tha'labi,  Nasr  en-nazm  (Damascus,  1300  ;  p.  137). 
[2]  He  was  a  Katib.    And  in  addition  astrologer  and  master  of  the 
kitchen  of  Saif-ud-Daulah,     Yatimali,  IV,  157. 
[3]  Diwan  of  Kushajim  (Beyrnt,  1313)  p.  74, 
[4]  Diwan  p.  6. 
[5]  Diwan  pp.  21,  22. 


264  THE  HEN  A I8RA  NGE  OF  ISLAM 

He  nings  of  the  Quwaiq,  the  river  of  Aleppo,  flowing  in 
itB  euierald  meadows,  through  red  anemones  and  lilien 
like  a  loosened  string  of  pearls,  Hashing  like  an  Indian 
sword,  now  bare  and  now  in  the  sheath.  He  likens  the 
lotus  of  the  meadows  to  a  hanging  lamp,  now  alight  and 
now  extinguished  hy  the  wind.7 

When  the  Nile  rises  in  Egypt,  shattering  the  dams,  it 
encloses  tho  villages,  like  the  sky  whose  stars  are  the  farm- 
houses.2 

Also  songs  of  snow  lie  has  penned.  One  of  them  begins 
thus: 

"Is  it  snow  or  is  it  silver  that  comes  pouring  down?" 
In  this  poem  he  has  the  bad  taste  to  say  : 

"  White  is  the  land  as  though  everywhere  white  teeth 
were  smiling."'' 
He  had  a  large  circle  of  admirers,  one  of  wliome  sang: — 

uWoe  to  the  luckless  who   enjoys  not  a   cup  of  wine, 
the  letters  of  Sabi,  and  the   poems  of  Kushajim."* 

In  the  middle  of  the  4th/10th  century  Kushajiin  was 
the  'flower  of  the  cultured1  at  Mosul.  The  Khalidi 
brothers  and  Sari  poets  of  this  town,  however  much  they 
might  wage  war  with  each  other;  followed  whole-heartedly 
in  the  footsteps  of  their  Syrian  master.  They  not  only 
plagiarised  each  other's  verses  but  Sari  inserted  the  best 
poems  of  his  opponents  in  Kushajim's  'Book  of  Poems' 
with  a  view,  at  once,  to  charge  more  for  the  transcript  and 
to  annoy  Kalidi/ 

Once  at  Mosul  the  poets  were  sitting  together  when  it 
began  to  hail,  covering  the  ground  with  hail-stones. 
Khalidi  threw  an  orange  at  them  and  invited  the  company 
to  describe  the  picture.  Sulami  ( d.  394/1004 )  began 
straightway  :  'Khalidi  has  placed  a  cheek  on  the  teeth' 
Yatimah,  II,  158). 


[1]  Diwan,  p.  48. 

[2]  Shabushti,  Kit.  ad-diyarat,  Berlin,  fol.  115  a. 

[8]  Diivan,  p  140. 

[4]  Yatimah,  II,  24. 

[6]  Tatiman  I,  450.  In  the  letters  of  Sabi  (Leiden)  there  is  one  in 
which  he  defends  himself  against  the  suspicion  of  the  Mosul  poets,  that 
he  Bided  with  Sari :  on  the  contrary  he  asserts  that,  when  Sari  begged 
him  to  be  allowed  to  compose  a  panegyric  on  him,  he  was  permitted  to 
do  90  provided  he  said  nothing  offensive  about  Khalidi  in  i*, 


THE  HEN  A 188  A  NCE  OF  I6LAM  265 

One  of  the  Khalidis  wings  thus  of  the  dawn  : 

"  The  stars  iu  the  firmament  ntand  like  lilies  in  violet 

meadows. 
"  Orion  staggers  in  the  dark  like  a  drunken  man. 

"  Veiled  in  a  light,  white  cloud, 
"  She  now  conceals  herself  behind  it. 
"  Like  the  breathing  of  a  fair  damsel  on  a  mirror,  when 

her  charms  are  perfect  and  she  is  un wedded M. 
And  again  :  "Hand  me,  from  a  white  hand,   yellow  wine  in 

a  goblet  blue — 
"  Beverage  is  the  Sun,  froth  the   moon,  hand  the   axis 

of  the  earth,  vessel  the  sky7". 

Himself  more  than  a  poet  of  moderate  attainments  and 
founder  of  a  distinguished  literary  line,  the  Wazir  Mu- 
hallabi  popularised  in  Baghdad  Sanaubari's  gleeful  poetry 
of  nature  and  of  wine.  He  used  especially  to  recite,  as  the 
Sahib7  states,  in  the  diary  of  his  Journey  to  Baghdad, 
a  great  many  poems  of  Sanaubari  and  of  his  school*. 
He  even  imitated  the  poem  of  his  master  on  snow,  which  is 
a  miracle  in  Baghdad  : — 

"  Like  Confetti  falls  the  snow.    Come,  let  us  enjoy  the 

pure,  virgin  daughter  of  the  vine." 
The  inspiration  is  from   the  school  of   Sanaubari,  too, 
when    the  Qadi   et-Tanukhi,  belonging  to    the  circle   of 
Muhallabi,  sings  of  a  girl  in  a  fire-red  garment  : — 

"  She  coyly  covered  her  face  with  her  sleeves,   like  the 

setting  sun  in  the  evening  glow51'. 
And  again: 

"  I  have  not  forgotten  the  Tigris.  The  darkness  des- 
cended and  the  full  moon  went  under.  A  carpet  of  blue 
was  the  river  with  golden  embroidery8". 

When  Saif-ud-Daulah,  the  Prince  of  Aleppo,  likens 
the  crimson-blushes  of  a  virgin,  wrapped  in  a  grey  veil, 
to  glowing  embers,  he  sees  her  with  the  eyes  of  Sanaubari. 
And  such  also  is  the  case  when  Wathiqi  in  Turkistan  sings 
of  the  incipient  charcoal  fire  : 

"  Jet  in  red-gold  in  between  blue  lotus7". 


(1)  The  name  of  this  constellation   is  feminine    in   Arabic.     See 
Pliny's  Natural  History,  VII.    §   64  for  ths  explanation  of  this.     lam 
indebted  to  Prof.  Margoliouth  for  this  note.  Tr, 

(2)  Yatimah,!   519. 

(3)  Ibn  Khali,  Vol.  I,  214  Tr. 

(4)  Yatimah,  II,  12. 

(5)  Yaqut  Irshad,  V.  338. 

(6)  Yatimah,  II,  109:  Irshad,  V,  335, 

(7)  ratimah,  JV, 


266  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

When,  at  the  end  of  the  century,  Ibn  'Abbad  sang  in 
Khorasan  of  the  winter  : — 

"  Do  you  not  see  how  December  scatters  its  roses  and 
the  world  seems  like  a  piece  of  camphor"? — 

Khwarezmi  discerned  at  once  that  all  this  was  traceable 
to  Sanuabari2. 

About  the  year  400/1009  'Uqaili  in  Egypt  represented 
the  style  of  Sanaubari.  "He  had  summer-houses  in  the 
Island  of  Old  Cairo,  took  no  service  of  princes,  eulogised 
no  one"0. 

The  following  is  a  specimen  of  his  verse  : — 

"  On  the  brook  the  hand  of  the  wind  has  flung  fiery 
anemones,  beneath  whose  red,  the  water  looks  like 
a  swordblade,  sprinkled  with  blood5". 

Little  attention  is  paid  to  the  sensations   of  sound. 

Sulami  (d.  394/1004)  describes  the  mighty  dam  of 
Shiraz  but  there  is  not  a  word  in  his  description  about  the 
rushing  of  water''.  The  only  thing  of  the  kind  that  I  have 
found  is  in  a  verse  of  the  Buwayyid  Izz-ud-Daulah  relat- 
ing to  a  banquet  on  the  bank  of  the  Tigris  : 

"  And  the  water  babbled  between  the  branches  like 
female  singers  dancing  round  the  flautist5". 

Towards  the  end  of  the  century  most  heterogeneous 
things  were  put  together  for  the  pleasure  of  the  ingenious, 
for  the  eaves  and  one's  own  reflection  in  a  mirror6.  Mai 
muni  in  Bukhara  describes  the  entire  pantry  :  cheese, 
olives,  roast  fish,  mustard  sauce,  scrambled  eggs7.  Ano- 
ther sings  of  a  candJe  in  the  centre  of  a  fish-pond,  and 
compares  a  fountain  with  an  apple  floating  in  it  to  a  blow- 
pipe of  fine  glass,  whereby  a  ball  of  agate  is  made  to  re  - 
volve8. 

The  Egyptian  'Abdul  Wahhab  ibn  al-Hajib  (d.  387/997) 
thus  speaks  of  the  two  great  pyramids  : — 

"  Tis  as  though   the  country,  parched  with  thirst,  had 

(1)  Yatimah,  1II»  95. 

(2)  Ibn  Sa'id,  ed.  Tallquist,  p.  52. 

(3)  Ibn  Sa'id  78, 

(4)  Yatimah,  II,  179. 

(5)  Yatimah,  Ti,  5.    (It  is  doubtful  whether  this  rendering  is  correct. 
For  c<  babbling  "   we   should  probably    render   "  flowing  ".     Prof.   Mar- 
goliouth,  Tr.) 

(6)  The  Qassar,  known  as  Sari  ed-Dila  [d.   410]  •  Tatimmat  akyati 
mah,  Vienna,  fol.  28  b, 

(7)  Yatimah.  IV,  94,  flf. 

(8)  Yatimah,  IV,  816. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  267 

bared    her  two    towering  breasts,  invoking  God's    help, 
like  a  woman  bereft  of  her  child. 

"  And  then  the  Almighty  made  her  a  gift  of  the    Nile 
which  supplies  a  copious  draught  to  her1". 
Only  in   the  4th/lCth  century — and  it  is  very   significant 

— do  tramps  find  a  place  in  Arabic  Poetry  : 
"  Theirs  is  Khorasan  and  Qashan  unto  India. 

"  Theirs  (the  country),  up  to  the  Eoman   frontier, 

up  to  the  land  of  the  negroes,  up  to  the  territory  of 

the  Bulgarians,  and  Sind. 

When  the  warriors  and  travellers   find  the  road  insecure 
for  fear  of  the  Bedouins  and  Kurds, 
"We  spring  across  without  sword  :  nay,  even  with- 
out a  sheath2". 

With  these  tramps  there  is  ushered  in  light  and  lively 
songs — indeed  lyrics,  which  make  no  pretence  of  in- 
genuity. Al-Almaf  of  Ukbara  in  Mesopotamia  was  their 
chief  bard.  His  drinking-songs  take  DO  note  of  the  joys 
afforded  by  nature  : — 

"  I  caroused  in  a  tavern  to  the  accompaniment  of 
tambourine  and  zither  : 

"  The   drum     sounded    'Kurdumta' — the   flute   'tiliri'. 

"  We  sat  hard  pressed  as  iu  a  baking-oven,  so  bot  was 
the  room,  and  from  the  blows  which  rained  we  were  like 
the  blind  and  one-eyed. 

"  I  felt  seedy  in  the  morning4 — Oh,  how  seedy  !  " 
He  sang  of  the  miseries  of  the  tramps  too. 

"  Despite  feebleness  the  spider  spins  a  web  to  rest 
therein, 

"  I  have  no  home. 

"  The  dung-beetles  find  support  among  their  kind,  but 
neither  love  nor  support  have  I"''. 

No  artifice  !  no  epigrams  here  !  It  is  the  style  which 
characterises  French  literature  from  Villon  to  Verlaine. 
To  this  circle  belongs  Mohammed  ibn  'Abdul  Aziz,  of  Sus, 

( 1)  Maqrizi,  I,  121. 

(2)  Yatimah,  II,  286.     Chevaliers  ^Industrie  called  in  Arabic  Bann 
sasan.    Prof.  Margoliouth.  Tr.) 

(3)  Yatimah,  II,  287.    The  Caliph  al-Mutamid  had  already  sung : 
The  Amir  is  on  the  march  and  the  drum  is  sounding  : 

Kurdwn,  Kwduml"  Shabushti,  Berlin,  fol,  42  b. 

(4)  Yatimah,  II,  286.    Tha'libi,  Kit.  al-Jjag,  236  :  Tha'libi,  Book  of 
Supports  DMG   VIII,  601.    I  have  not  discovered  the  Arabic  name  of 
this  work.  Tr. 


2(58  THE  liENAl&tiANGE   Ot1  l&LAtt 

who  in  a  poem  of  more  than  400  verses  described  his  chang- 
es in  religion,  sect,  and  employment.  It  begins  :— "  No 
luck  have  I,  no  clothes  in  my  trunk7".  Alongside  of 
him  stand  the  popular  poets  of  the  great  Mesopotamia!! 
towns  such  as  Ibn  Lankak  at  Basra,  'whose  poems  rarely 
go  beyond  two  or  three  verses  and  who  is  rarely  felicitous 
in  Qasidahs' ';  Ibn  Sukarralr'  who  is  said  to  have  composed 
over  50,000  verses,  of  which  10,000  are  addressed  to  his 
black  singing-girl  Khanirah,  and  finally,  one  who  surpasses 
them  all,  Ibn  al-Hajjaj  in  Baghdad  (d.  301/1001)''. 
He  was  slim  and  slender: — 

"  Fear  not  for  me  because  of  my  narrow  chest, 
"  Men  are  not  measursed  by  the  bushel'7". 
And  once,   defending  himself  for  running   away  /rum  his 
creditors,  he  sang  : — 

"  Many   say  :  The  wretch  has  fled,— were  he  a  man  he 
would  have  stayed  behind. 

"  He  vile  him  not !     lievile  him  not  for  running   a\wiy  ! 
"  Even  the  Prophet  made  his  escape  to  the  cave1''". 

To    this    unhappy    time    probably   belong   the  proud 
verses  : — 

"  When  I  praised  them  in  the  morning*   they   thanked 

me  not, 

"  And   when   I  reviled    them   in    the    evening,    they 

ignored  it. 
"  1  he\\  my  rhymes  out  of  thoir  quariy, 

"  Whether   the   blockheads    hear   or  heed   them,  is  no 

concern  of  mine". 


(1)  Yatimah  III,  237 

(2)  Ibn  Lankak   has  collected    the   short   love-poems  of  the   Basran 
'rich-baker'  (d.  330/941)  in  front  of  whose  shop  people  assembled  to  listen 
to  him.     (Ibn  alJavud,  fol.  70  b).     These  poems  were  mostly  pederastic 
The  youths  of  Basra  felt  proud  of  being  referred  to  by  him.  They   appre- 
ciated his  language  for  its  clarity   and  intelligibility  '(Yatimah,   11,132). 
After  his  death  ho  became  popular  at  Baghdad.      Also  Mas'udi  writes    in 
;j33/944  (Mas'udi  VIII,  374)  that  his  songs  were  sung  most  frequently. 

(3)  Yatimah,  II,  188. 

U)  Abu  Abudullah  al-Hasan  Ibn  Ahmad  died  at  Nil  in  Mesopotamia 
on  Tuesday  the  27th  (according  to  Wnz.  p.  430,  on  the  22ndl  Jamada 
I  of  the  year  391,  As  a  zealous  Shi'ite  he  \vas  burned  by  the  grave  of 
Musa  ibn  Ja'far  es-Sadiq.  He  chose  the  inscription  for  his  grave  :  'Aixl 
at  the  threshold  lies  the  dog  with  pa\vs  outstretched '.  Surah  18.17 
(Al-Hamadani,  Parifl,  fol.  340  b.  He  resided  in  Suq-Yahya,  of  which 
ho  sang  a  great  deal. 

(5)  Yaqut,  II,  242. 

6)  Yatimah,  II,  228 


THE  HENAltiM.lNCE  OF  ISLAM  269 

Rich  and  influential  alike  dreaded  his  evil  tongue, 
'  Filth  procures  me  money  and  honour',  he  himself  says'. 
He  became  tax  farmer  and  later  even  Inspector  of  Indus- 
tries (Muhtasib)  In  the  capital,  lor  \vhich  his  less  successful 
contemporary  Ibn  Sukkarah  envied  him  most". 

In  his  •  poems  he  Joves  to  use  the  language  of  the 
tramps  and  charlatans".  In  him  and  his  companions  the 
disgusting  obscaiity  of  Oriental  towns  reveals  itself, — a 
thing  kept  in  check  in  literature  by  the  influence  of  sober 
and  continent  Bedouins ''. 

Like  one  freed  from  sonic  unwelcome  restraint,  Ibn 
al-Hajjaj  rejoices  in  and  boasts  of  his  license.  Indeed  his 
licentious  boast  is  but  a  reaction  against  the  maudlin  senti- 
mentality of  others.  He  says  : — 

"  Necessary   too  is  the  levity  of  my   songs,  for  arc  wo 
not  ingenuous  and  shameless? 

"  Can  one  live  in  a  house  \\  itliout  a  privy  ? 

"  When    silent  1  am   laden   with    fragrance   but   when 
I  sing  the  bad  odour  exhales. 

"  Cleaner  of  a  privy  am  I  and  my  song    is   naught    but 

M  sewer :". 

It  was  precisely  for  this  reason  that  in  a  later  police- 
iiiaiuuil  the  work  of  this  poet  is  banned  to  boys",  but  its 
filth  never  worried  the  contemporaries.  The  highest  dig- 
nitary of  the  4  Abbasid  Caliphate— the  Registrar  of  the 
4  Alids--al-Rida,  was  an  ardent  admirer  of  Ibn  al-Hajjaj 
and  edited  a  selection  of  his  poems7.  He  even  mourned 
his  death  in  an  elegy.  The  Fatimid  Caliph  in  Cairo  pur- 
chased for  1,000  dimiis  his  works  in  which  he  was  praiseds 
His  Diwan  not  infrequently  fetched  SO  to  70  dinars''. 
Al-Haukari,  court-poet  of  Saif-ud-Da \vlah  in  Aleppo,  begged 
the  Mesopotamian  poet  for  a  song  which  he  might  recite 
before  his  master  (Yativiah,  II,  226). 

(1)  Diwan,  10.  Baghdad  Marghanah,  my  copy,  i>.  268. 

(2)  Diwan,  Baghdad,  240:   Wuzt  430,  YatimaJi,  II,  219. 

(3)  YathnaJi,  II,  211. 

(4)  When  one  examines  the  descent  of  the  more  famous  represent- 
atives of  this  literature  of  filth  one  finds  it  in  most  cases  like  the  descent 
of  Eawandi   (d.   298-911):  Son  of  a  Jewish  magi  an  or  heathen    convert 
(Abu'l  Mabasin,  II.  184;. 

(6)  Yatimah,  II.  24. 

(6)  Mashriq,  X.  p.  1085. 

(1)  Jim.  Khali.,  Vol.  Ill,  p.  41H  Tr 

(8)  Diwan  X,  237  :  Wuz.,  430. 

(9)  Yatimah,  II,  215. 


270  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF   ISLAM 

Ibn  Hajjaj  says  himself  :— 

"  If  my  song  were  to  strike  a  serious  vein,  the  stars  of 
the  night  you  would  see  resplendent  therein. 

"  But  generally  it  is  jocular  and  redolent  of  the  trivial 
round  of  things7". 

And  he  achieves  his  purpose  with  effortless  ease.  He 
calls  everything  by  its  right  name,  defies  the  laws  of  metre 
and  of  rhyme.  And  thus  his  Diwan  brings  together  a 
whole  heap  of  expressions  from  the  colloquial  language  of 
the  Baghdad ^of  the  4th/10th  century'.  For  him  the°tra- 
ditional  poetic  model  exists  only  to  be  parodied,  as  for 
instance  on  the  death  of  Subuktagin  : 

'*  May  always  the  privy  in  which  he  is  buried. 
"  Be  watered  by  tho  rain  of  the  stomach ;;". 

And  through  the  mist  of  filth  shine  here  and  there  the 
stars  of  the  night  which  manifestly  made  his  contempo- 
raries regard  this  utterer  of  obscenities  as  a  poet  of  great 
distinction. 

Of  Mesopotaiman  origin  but  of  Syrian  training 
Mutanabbi'',  in  contrast  to  these  poets,  staunchly  adheres 
to  the  Arab  tradition'7.  While  they,  being  realists,  sang  of 
their  experiences,  Mutanabbi  is  the  academician  to  whom 
the  universal  appeals.  Invited  once  to  join  a  huntino- 
party  which  possessed  a  remarkably  intelligent  dog  that 
brought  to  bag  a  gazelle,  without  a  hawk— the  poet  sang 
praises  of  him.  But  he  thought  that  that  could  be  done 
without  reference  to  the  hunting-party,  and  therefore 
simply  sang  of  tho  dog  in  the  customary  fashion  (Muta- 
nabbi, Ditvan,  Beyrut,  1882  p.  128).  Ibn  al-Mu'tazz  was 

(1)  Yatimah,  II,  213. 

(2)  Unfortunately   those  are  explained  only  parfciallv  in  the  British 
Musuem  copy.     No  other  explanation  exists  elsewhere, 

(3)  Diwan,  Baghdad,  80 

(4;  Ibn  Khali  Vol.  I.  p.  102  Tr. 

(5)  Abu  Tammam   (d.  circa   230/845  and  al-Buhturi  (d.  284/897)— 
also  Syrian  poets— were  conservatives  and  followed  in  the  wake  of  their 
Damascene  predecessors  al-Akhtal,  Jarir,  and  Farazdaq.  But  Buhturi 
had  poetic  sens-*  to  prefer  the  more  modern  style  of  Abu  Nuwas  to  that 
of  the  conservative  haul.    He  met  the  objection  of  the  philologists  with 
the  retort :   Yours  is  only  the  science,   but  not  the  making  of  poetry. 
Only  those  understand   the  making  of  it  who   havo  passed  through  the 
toil  of  poetic  composition  (Goldziher,  Abhandl  zur  Arabischen  Philologie 
p.  164,  note  (4)  In  Syria  also  there  Was  a  notable  representative  of  Ibn 
al-IIajjaj's  style  :   Ahmad  ibn  Mohd.  al-Antaqi,  known  as  Abu'l  Eaqamaa 
(d.  359)  who,  however,  succeeded  in  composing  only  a  few  lively  verses 
Tatimah,  I,  238-261).    For  further  particulars  about  him— Maalim  aZ- 
Talkhis,  Berlin,  fol.  156b. 


THE    KENAISSANCE   OF  ISLAM  <271 

the  only  modern  poet  of  whom  he  approved.  Yatimah, 
1,  p.  98).  The  Mesopotamians  were  unfriendly  to  him. 
Both  Ibn  Sukkarah  and  Ibn  Lankak  (Yatimah,  I,  86,  II, 
116)  and  Ibn  al-Hajjaj  (Divran,  Baghdad,  270)  satirized 
him,  and  there  is  extant  a  malicious  account  of  the  meeting 
of  the  Syrian  Court-poet  with  the  literati  of  Baghdad. 
He  is  made  to  appear  supercilious,  and  despite  intense 
heat,  he  wears  seven  coloured  robes,  one  over  another,  to 
increase  his  proportions,  but  before  a  Baghdadian  critic 
he  has  to  trim  his  sails.  (Yaqut,  Irshad,  VI,  506  ;  Tiraz 
el-Muwashslia,  Cairo,  1894,  II,  65  ff;  Yatimah,  I,  85).  In 
400/1009  the  Syrian  poet  Abu'l  'Ala  left  Baghdad  on  account 
of  a  quarrel  with  the  influential  supporters  of  Ibn  al-Hajjaj. 
He  sided  with  his  countryman  Mutanabbi  as  against  them. 

(Letters,  ed.  by  Prof.  Margoliouth,  p.  XXVIII.  Abu'l 
'Ala  also  wrote  a  copious  commentary  on  the  poems  of 
Mutanabbi,  (Von  Kremer  on  the  philosphioal  poems  of 
Abul'Ala,  SWA,  117,  p.  89).  There  is  a  copy  of  this  in 
the  British  Museum.  Tr.) 

Even  the  Syrian  Abu  Firas  (d.  357/968)  distinctly 
pursues  the  old  path.  But  the  most  remarkable  thing 
about  him  is  that  he  very  sparingly  alludes  in  his  poems 
to  the  wild  warfare  on  the  western  frontier  of  the  empire. 
A  cousin  of  the  Hamdanid  Prince  Saif-ud-Daulah,  he 
must  have  been  mixed  up  a  great  deal  with  those  events 
and  yet  the  larger  portion  of  his  glorification  is  naught 
but  poetical  fiction.  And  one  who  is  not  conversant  with 
the  facts  will  find  it  impossible  to  make  cut  from  his  poems 
that  Syrians  and  Greeks,  Muslims  and  Christians  fought 
in  such  large  numbers  and  with  the  most  perfect  military 
equipment  of  their  age.  They  might  equally  well  be  dealing 
with  the  petty  warfare  of  two  Bedouin  tribes.  Even  the 
poems  relating  to  his  Greek-  captivity  appear  to  me  mere* 
ryhmed  prose*.  And  when  writers  like  the  Sahib2  and 
Tha'libr'  praise  it  extravagantly  it  offers  but  one  more  proof 
that  faint  then  was  the  line  between  the  writer  and  the 
poet. 

The  Sherif  Ar-Eida4,  born  at  Baghdad  in  361/970,  was 
only  thirty  when  Ibn  al-Hajjaj  died.  Himself  a  poet,  he 
made  a  selection  of  Hajjaj's  poems5.  But  he  was  too 

fl)  Few  will  agree  with  this.  Tr. 

(2)  Ibn  Fhall.  Vol.  I,  214,  Tr. 

(3)  Ibn  Khali,  Vol.  IF.  p.  129,  (d.  429/1037-8)  Tr. 

(4)  Prof.  Margoliouth,  Aidb  Historians,  p.  90  :  Ibn  Khali,    Vol  III 
p.  418.  Tr. 

(5)  Diwan,  Cairo,  1307,  p.  1. 


272  THE  liENAISSANGE  OF  ISLAM 


great  a  gentleman  with  too  distinguished  a  pedigree  to 
descend,  like  Hajjaj,  against  all  conventions,  into  the 
seamy  side  of  life.  His  father  had  been  Registrar  of  the 
descendants  of  'AIL  On  his  deatli  in  400/1009  he  succeeded 
to  all  his  lion  ours  and  official  preferments,  although  a 
younger  son.  He  lived  in  great  style  ;  established  a  private 
academy  where  savants  studied  and  wore  entertained  at  his 
cost ;  and  boasted  of  having  never  accepted  a  present  even 
from  a  Wasriv.  Proud  was  ho  of  being  a  judge  over  his 
'Alid  kinsmen. 

An   'Alid    woman   once   complained  to  him  against  hor 
husband  of  gambling  away  his  fortune  instead  of  providing 
for  wife  and    child.    When    witnesses  confirmed  hor  state- 
ment the   Sherif  summoned   him,  ordered   him  to  lie  face 
downward,  and  had    him   flogged.     The   woman    thought 
that  they  would  stop  beating,  but   when  they  exceeded   100 
strokes   she  cried   out :  Flow   would  it  fare   with   us  if  he 
died,   and   my  children  became  orphans  ?     Upon  this  the 
Sherief  called  out  :  cDid  you  imagine  that  you  were  com- 
plaining to  a  school -master'?    He   was    the  first  'Alid  aris- 
tocrat who  publicly  abandoned  resistance  to  authority,   who 
exchanged  the   white  dross,   which   his   father   had   worn 
with  as  much  pride  as  grief  for  the  black  uniform   of  the 
c  Abbasid  courtier  and  official'.     He  traces  his  reserve  and 
shrinking  to  hie  melancholy  temperament  : 

"  I  might  justify  myself  before  men  from  whom  I  keep 
aloof.  I  am  more  hostile  to  myself  than  all  men  put 
together. 

"  They  say  :  Comfort  thyself,  for  life  is  but  a  sleep; 
when  it  ends,  care,  the  nightly  wanderer,  vanishes  too. 
Were  it  a  peaceful  sleep,  I  would  welcome  it  but  it  is  a 
disquieting,  dreadful  sleep8" 

Never  does  one  common,  ugly  expression  ^escape  from 
the  mouth  of  this  genuine  aristocrat,  such  as  we  find  in  the 
state-secretary  Ibrahim  es-Sabi,  the  Wazir  Mnhallabi  and 
Ibn  'Abbad.  Even  in  satires  where  the  poets  have  allowed 
themselves  a  free  rein  the  following  is  the  strongest  that 
we  have  found  in  this  poet  :— 

"  When  he  makes  his  appearance  the  eyes  blink  and 
the  ears  vomit  at  his  song. 


(1)  Diwan  pp.  1  and  929. 

(2)  Diwan,  505,  ff.  Before  the  Sultan  Baha-ud-Daulah  he  declined 
toreqte:  I  do  that  only  before  the  Caliph  (p.  954).    [Regarding  his 
melancholy  it  is  to  be  observed  that  he  was  born  when  his  father  was 
already  65, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  273 

"  Wo  would  rafeher  listen  to  the  roar  of  contending 
lions  than  to  thy  song"\ 

That  such  an  one  should  be  at  pains  to  make  Selec- 
tions of  the  few  decent  verses  in  the  works  of  Ibn  al- 
Hajjaj  and  even  compose  a  panegyric  on  him,  is  a  fact 
oroditable  to  both.3 

Moreover  Rida  is  more  on  the  side  of  Mutannabi, 
whose  commentator,  Ibn  Jinni,  was  his  teacher.  Through 
the  entire  programme  of  the  old  school  of  poets  Rida  goes  : 
congratulatory  poems  on  the  new  year,  Easter,  Ramadan, 
the  end  of  the  month  of  Past,  Mihrajan,  birth  of  a  son  or 
daughter,  panegyrics  on  Caliphs,  Sulfcans,  Wazirs,  elegies 
on  death  of  men  prominent  or  closely  allied  to  him,  and 
above  all,  poems  on  the  anniversary  of  the  death  of 
Husain,  the  Asliura  Day,  Nor  does  he  forget  to  glorify 
his  house  and  its  nobility  and  to  complain  of  the  world  and 
of  old  age.  And  this  he  does,  according  to  convention, 
from  youth  onward.  Luckily,  in  his  twentieth  year,  in 
consequence  of  a  vow  which  necessitated  the  cropping  the 
front  part  of  his  head,  he  discovered  grey  hair,-—  a  dis- 
covery which  gave  him  a  right  to  speak  of  old  age3.  In 
literary  history  Rida  stands  out  as  a  master  of  elegy'7. 
He  is  a  stern  stylist  and  is  very  sparing  of  persona]  details 
in  individual  cases.  In  392/1002  he  lost  his  friend  and 
teacher  Ibn  Jinni.  The  elegy  opens  with  a  lament  on  the 
poet  : — 

"  Little  chips  are  we,   borne   by   the   torrent,   rolling 
between  the  hillock  and  the  sandfield". 
Then  a  long  Ubi  sunt — 
"  Where  are  the  Kings  of  Yore  ?  " 
Then  the  reference  to  the  special  gifts  of  the  dead  : — 
"  Who   will    now  undertake    to    lead    the    refractory 
camel    of    speech    to    drink  ?     Who    will    now   fling 
words    like    piercing    darts  ?      When    he    summoned 
words  they,  came  with  bent    necks  as  camels  come 
to  their    driver.     He  led  them  to  graze,  with  glossy 
backs,  as  though  they  were  chargers  of  the  blood  of 
Wajeh  or  Lahik.    The  marks  of  his  branding    sank 
deeper   into  their  pasterns    than    the    brandmarks  of 
camels.    Who  is  there    now    to    deal    with    poetical 


[1]  Diwan,  504. 

[2]  Diwan,  864. 

[#]  This  very  story  is  to  be  found  in  the  work  of  the  Syrian  prince 
and  poet  Abu  Firas,  The  Arab  collector  there  observes  that  the  expre- 
ssion comes  from  Abu  Nuwas  [Dvorak,  Abu  Firast  p.  141.] 

[4]  Yahiwaft,  II.  308, 


<J74  THE    UENAI8SANCE   OF  ISLAM 

conceits  which  were  flung  in  sacks  before   him  ?     Who 

would  unlock  the  secret  of  such  conceits  ?     He  would 

ascend  their  highest  peak,  never  stumbling ;  he  would 

traverse  their  most  slippery  places  and  never  slide." 

And  all  personal  references  end  here.    The  rest  may 

be    applied  to    any  one.     Though  a  resident  of  the  capital 

and  a  peaceful  man   of  letters,  he  ignores  town-life  and 

loves  to  dwell  upon  war,  camels,  noble  horses  and  the  desert. 

Many  a  poem  is  doubtless  the  fruit  of  personal   experience, 

deeply  felt   and  characteristically  expressed  ;  betraying   the 

pupil  of  Ibn  al-Hajjaj   behind  the  rolling  verse.     Splendid 

was  the  Qasidali  which  he   declaimed  at  a  solemn  audience 

where  the  Caliph  received  the  Khorasanian  pilgrims.    The 

opening   lines  express  in  powerful  language  the  dangers  of 

pilgrimage    and    the    woeful    fate    of    those   that  are   left 

behind  : — 

"  Whoso    are    the    howdahs,    tossed    about   by  the 
camels,  and  the  Caravan  which  now  floats  now  sinks 

in  the  mirage  ?" 

They  arc  crossing  the  sides  of  Al-Aqiq  : 
"  One  goes  to  Syria,  whose  fancy  drivers  his  mounts 

that  way  ;  another  to  'Iraq. 

"  They  have  left  behind  a  prisoner  (i.e.,  the  poet 
himself)  not  to  be  redeemed  of  his  passion  and 

a  seeker  who  never  attains  his  goal7 
One  of  his  most  charming  poems   describes  a  beautiful 
woman  in  a  nocturnal  caravan  : — 

"  She  looked  out — when  night  was  all  embracing, 
trailing  its  long  garments — from  the  chinks  of 
the  howclalw,  while  the  driver's  notes  were 
sounding  across  a  wide  valley, 

"  And   the  necks  of  the  travellers  were  bending  from 

the  remains  of  the   drunkenness  of  sleeplessness. 

u  At  sight   of  her   they  raised   themselves   erect   in 

their  saddles,  their  gaze  following  the  light   (of  her 

countenance). 

"  We  were  in  doubt ;  presently  1  said  to   them  :  this 

is  not  the  rising  of  the  moon2'7. 

Thus  in  the  4th/10th  century  Sanaubari  and  Muta- 
nabbi,  Ibn  al-Hajjaj  and  Ar-Eida  stand  side  by  side— each 
at  the  very  height  in  his  own  sphere,  gazing  from  one  high, 
at  the  unfolding  centuries  of  Arabic  Literature. 


[1]  Diwan,  641.  [2]  Diwan>  394.  "  Mez  seems  to  have  mistaken  ' , 
says  Prof,  Margoliouth,  "  the  sense  of  these  lines,  which  ara  an  ordinary 
erotic  prologue  in  which  the  poet  tees  his  lady-love  in  a  howdab 
emigrating  with  her  trjhe  ".  Trf 


XVIII— GEOGRAPHY. 


Marked  are  the  progressive  steps  in  Geography.  But 
here,  we  shall  only  deal  with  its  literary  aspect.  It  is  a 
child  of  the  Renaissance  of  the  3rd/9th  century.  The 
works  of  al-Kindi  (circa  200/800),  one  of  the  prominent 
interpreters  of  Greek  learning,  occupy7  the  place  of  honour 
and  next  to  them  'The  Book  of  Roads'  of  Ion  Khurdadbih, 
composed,  according  to  iiis  own  statement,  about  the  year 
232/84()Oii  the  basis  of  Ptolemy'.  'Masudi'  in  323/935, 
refers  to  Ibn  Khurdadbih's  book  as  the  best  book  on  the 
subject';  but  Mukaddasi,  (even  in  375/985)  regards  it  as 
far  too  brief  to  be  of  much  use''.  Mukaddasi  finds  fault 
with  Jaihani  (end  of  the  3rd/9th  century),  the  successor 
and  plagiarist  of  Ibn  Khurdadbih,  for  introducing  learned, 
astronomical,  and  other  matters,  unintelligible  to  ordinary 
readers ;  for  describing  the  idols  of  India  and  the  wonders  of 
Sind  ;  for  giving  merely  an  itinerary  and  no  more.  Balkhi 
(he  states)  omits  many  large  towns,  he  was  not  a  traveller  at 
all,  and  his  introduction  is  faulty.  Ibn  al-Faqih  (end  of 
the  3rd/9th  century)  mentions,  on  the  other  hand,  only 
large  towns ;  collects  all  kinds  of  heterogeneous  matters, 
making  us  alternately  laugh  and  weep5.  And,  indeed, 
between  the  description  of  Yaman  and  Egypt  he  refreshes, 
himself  with  two  chapters  "  from  seriousness  to  levity " 
and  "  laudation  of  friends  ".  He  makes  the  description 
of  Rome  and  occasion  for  a  criticism  on  architecture  arid, 
again  a  discussion  on  love  for  one's  country.  To  his 
contemporary  Ibn  Rostah  the  strange  and  rare  things  of 
the  world  appealed  most  :  the  strange  and  rare  things  in 

(1)  Masudi,  1,  275. 

(2)  Bibl.  Qeogr.  VI   3.   Khurdadbih    means  '  bumper  '  (Matali  el- 
budur,  1,  189.    Maqrizi,  Khitat,  414   reads  Khurdadbih  bellnr  (Eng,  Tr. 
of  Masudi  p.  201  on  ptolemy.  Tr.) 

(3)  Masudi,  II  71. 

(4)  p.  4.     (5)  Muk,3ff. 


276  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

South  Arabia,  Egypt,  Constantinople,  India,  among  the 
Magyars  and  the  Slavs.  Hamdani  (d.334/945)  describes 
Arabia  as  a  philologer  and  Qudamah  (d. 310/922)  deals  with 
the  Empire  and  the  neighbouring  countries  in  a  manual 
for  administrators. 

Yaqubi  (end  of  the  3rd/9th  century),  for  the  first  time, 
deals  with  the  countries  in  a  true  and  proper  spirit  and 
treats  them  from  the  point  of  view  of  their  own  intrinsic 
interest. 

"  I  set  out  young  in  years  and  have  ever  since  been 
travelling  in  foreign  countries".  Ho  visited  the  whole  of 
the  empire  —  was  in  Armenia,  Khorasan,  Egypt  and  the 
West,  even  India.  He  never  tired  of  questioning  people, 
on  and  off  pilgrimage,  regarding  countries  and  towns,  the 
distances  between  the  stations,  the  inhabitants,  agriculture 
and  irrigation,  dress,  religion  and  their  system  of  education. 
"  1  have  worked  long  at  this  book ;  I  have  gathered  infor- 
mation on  the  spot ;  and  I  have  checked  my  information  by 
iterviowing  reliable  witnesses'  ".  He  gives  a  well-arranged 
and  wonderfully  accurate  account  of  the  empire  begin- 
ning with  Baghdad.  But  be  that  as  it  may,  his  book  is 
not  a  personal  account  of  travels ;  for  in  that  age  the  per- 
sonal aspect  of  travel  was  not  in  vogue.  Masudi  himself, 
wi-iting  about  333/944,  is  not  more  personal ;  though  his 
curiosity  took  him  much  further  afield,  to  Africa  and  even 
to  China.  And  yet  he  does  furnish,  in  his  historical  works 
a  great  deal  of  his  personal  experiences— a  thing  which 
Yaqubi  sternly  avoids.  The  work  of  al-Mukaddasi  and  Ibn 
Haukal  in  the  4th/10th  century  mark  the  summit  of  Arab 
Geography. 

Both  were  borne  on  the  current  of  the  Muslim  in  tine- 
rant  spirit— both  were  widely  travelled.  Mukaddasi  expe- 
rienced everything  that  a  traveller  could  experience  except 
actual  begging  and  the  commission  of  capital  offences  and 
spent  10,000  dirhams  on  his  travels3.  Ibn  Haukal,  too, 
visited  every  place  except  the  western  Sahara''.  Both, 
however  confined  themselves  to  the  Empire  of  Islam 
(Manila/cat  al-Mam).  Mukaddasi  himself  confesses  that 
he  never  went  beyond  the  Empire  of  Islam  and  that  his 

[1]  Ribl  decor.  VII,  232  f. 

[2]  p.  44  f.  IIo  published  his  hook  when  lie  was  forty. 
[3]  p.  111.  [4]  p.  9  [on  the  'Empire  of  Islam',  sec  M's  Eng.  tr.  p. 
103.     Also  see  p   12  Tr  ] 


THE  llEKAISSAtiCE  OF  ISLAM  277 

own  personal  observations  were  the  basis  of  his  work'. 
Both  weie  intimate  with  the  Literature  on  the  subject. 
Mukaddasi  makes  this  quite  clear.  Ibn  Haukal  read  all  the 
well-known  and  famous  books  but  found  none  that  could 
satisfy  his  thirst  for  the  conditions  and  customs  of  the 
empire.  Ibn  Khurdadbih,  Jaihani,  and  Qudamah  never 
left  his  side'.  The  language  of  this  period  being  more 
polished  and  refined,  both  these  writers  used  it,  in  a  mas- 
terly fashion,  to  serve  their  own  ends  ;  Ibn  Haukal,  indeed 
with  lighter  grace  than  Mukaddasi.  The  scholastics  of 
his  time  applaud  Mukaddasi  for  dividing  and  sub-dividing 
his  material  and  for  establishing  from  tho  Qur'an  that 
there  are  only  two  seas*.  He  even  added  a  map  to  his 
work  which  unfortunately  is  lost,  where  the  familiar 
routes  were  painted  red,  the  desert  yellow,  the  seas 
green,  the  rivers  blue,  tho  mountains  drab*.  Ho  had  scon 
such  a  map  in  the  work  of  Balkhi  (d.  3-J-2/934).  He  had 
also  seen  one  in  the  Library  of  the  Samanid  Prince  at 
Bukhara,  another  at  Nisabur,  and  yet  another  in  that  of 
'  Adad-ud-Daulah  and  the  Salieb  ibu  Abbad  ;  besides  the 
sea-charts  in  the  hands  of  Arab  sailors'7.  By  the  chief  of 
the  merchants  at  Aden  lie  had  the  Indian  Ocean  with  its 
gulfs  and  bays  sketched  on  the  sand  of  the  beach'1'.  A 
physician  in  Jericho,  pointing  out,  said  to  him  :  Do  you 
see  this  valley  ?  It  runs  to  Hijaz  and  on  to  Yamamah  and 
on  and  on  again  to  Oman  and  to  Hajar,  to  Basra  and  to 
Baghdad  where  it  rises,  leaving  Mosal  to  the  right,  up  to 
Raqqah.  It  is  the  valley  of  Heats  and  of  Palms7.  And  Ibn 
Haukal  even  maintains  the  continuity  of  the  desert  from 
Morocco  to  China*.  He  also  holds  that  the  Chinese  chain 
of  mountains  merges  into  the  Tibetan,  Persian,  Armenian, 
Syrian,  tho  Mukattani  and  the  North  African  ridges''.  Of 
these  two  works  later  geographers  took  that  of  Ibn  Haukal 
preferably  for  their  model.  Both  indeed  were  far  more 
critical,  for  instance  than  the  later  Idrisi  who  has  used 
the  'Book  of  Wonders  '  of  Hassan  b.  al-Mundhir  despised 
alike  by  Mukaddasi  and  Ibn  Haukal. 

The  scientific  impulse,  awake  and  active,  shows  itself 
in  every  direction  in  the  4th/10th  century  of  the  Hegira. 
The  experiences  and  tales  of  the  Seamen  regarding  China 
and  the  Indian  Ocean  were  eagerly  listened  to  (Silsilet  et- 
tawarikh,  Ajail  al-Hind).  About  the  middle  of  the  8rd/9th 


Gooyr.    if  5,   235.12]  pp~H7~27b,   16.  According  't 
55,  19.  f3]  p.  9.  Er.gr.  tr.  p.   12.  [4]  p.  8    f5]  p.ll  :  Eng.  tr.  p.   15  Tr 
[6]  p.   179.    [;]  pp.  30,  104.      [8]  194,  110  f.  soo  Bekri  ed   Slano  1GO. 
The  first  indication  of  this  view  appears  in    Ibn    Khurdadbih,  p.  172, 
Masudi,  II,  71.  [9]  Abul  Fida,  ed,  .Remand,  p.  2. 


278  PUB  UENAI88ANCE  0&  ISLAM 

century  tho  Caliph  sent  an  expedition  by  land  to  the 
Chinese  Wall.  (The  report  of  tho  leader  of  the  expedition 
Sallam  :s  preserved  in  Idrisi  and  has  been  edited  by  de 
Goeje,  De  miirr  Van  Gog  en  Macjo(f).  In  309/921,  Ibn 
Fudhlan  wrote  an  account  of  his  travels  to  the  Volga 
IJulgarianH'  and  about  333/944  Abu  Dulaf  wrote  his  to  the 
Central  and  Kast  Africa**.  About  this  very  time  Istakhri 
reports  on  the  authority  of  a  preacher  from  the  Volga- 
JUilgariaiiM  that  'there  tho  nights  are  so  short  in  summer 
that  one  can  only  do  &paraxany  through  them;  in  the 
winter  on  the  contrary,  that  is  the  case  with  the  days'"'. 
Tho  "traveller  to  the  west"  sot  out  from  Lisbon  "to  survey 
tho  ocean  and  its  extent"*.  In  377/987  tho  author  of  the 
Jfthrist  derives  his  information  about  China  from  a  Nes- 
torian  monk  who,  along  with  five  other  Katliolicos  was 
sent  to  China  and  had  resided  there  for  seven  years. 
(Fihrist,  3-19).  Tho  merchants  brought  news  of  Germany 
and  the  Frankish  Empire.  In  375/985  one  Muhallabi 
drew  up  an  itinerary  for  the  Fatimid  Caliph  al-Aziz  which, 
for  the  first  time,  gave  accurate  information  about  the 
Sudan  of  which  the  other  geographers  of  that  century 
knew  very  littlo.  (His  book  was  named  Axizi  after  the 
Caliph,  to  whom  it  was  dedicated.  It  is  the  main  source 
of  Yaqut  for  tho  Sudan). 

The  Spanish  geographer  Mohamad  el-tarikhi  (d.  363/ 
973)  described  North  Africa.  (He  is  the  main  source  of 
Bekri,  Slane,  16)  and  the  Muallam  Khwasir  Ibn  Yusuf 
al-ariki,  who,  in  400/1009,  made  a  voyage  along  the  Nubian 
and  the  South  African  coast,  in  the  ship  of  the  Indian 
Daban  Korah,  laid  the  foundation  of  the  Sea-charts 
(Rahmani),  elaborated  in  the  6th/12th  century.  (Urn  al- 
bahr,  Paris,  2292>fol  3  a). 

About  this  time  in  connection  with  the  raids  which 
started  from  Sayna,  Benin  t  wrote  the  first  and  only 
work  on  India.  He  finds  fault  with  the  Indians  for  a 
lack  of  intelligent  method  in  their  works,  for  digressions 
and  fairy-tales,  for  "  mixing  up  precious  crystals  with 
pebbles  "J  a  fault  to  be  found  even  in  Jahiz  and  Masudi 

[11  Yaqut,  Text  and  trans,  by  Frahn,  1823.  [Viol  Thompson  in 
his  Origin  of  the  Ru*s  has  shown  the  great  importance  of  this  work  for 
the  history  of  Russia  on  the  Volga  Bulgarians  see  Vol.  V  [helmholt's 
World  History  pp.  326,  328  Tr. 

[2]  cf.  Marquart,  Scliau-Fest-Schri/t,  p.  272  note.  [81  Bibl.  Geocjr. 
1,  225.  [41  Idrisi,  184.  Seo  the  Chapter  on  "  Sea-Faring. 

fL5]  India.     Translated  by  Saehau,  1,25. 


TEE  RENAI8SA  NGE  OF  ISLAM  279 

The  criticism  of  Beruni  shows  the  progress  in  restraint 
achieved  by  Arabic  Literature. 

'Abu  Zaid,  Ahmad  ibn  Sahl  al-Balkhi.  He  was  of 
Shamistiyan,  a  village  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Balkh,  and 
died  340  H.  His  work  is  entitled  Suwar-ul-aqalim,  on 
which  al-Istakhri  has  cheifly  based  his  treatise  on  it. 

Aba  Bakr  Ahmad  ibn  Muhammad  al-Hamdani  com- 
monly called  Ibn-ul-Faqth.  The  author  of  the  Fihrist  say 
that  lie  compiled  his  book  from  various  works,  and  chiefly 
from  that  of  al  Jaihani,  but  from  internal  evidence  it  is 
conclusively  shown  that  the  work  could  not  have  been 
written  later  than  290  H,  that  is,  some  years  before  al- 
Jaihani  wrote  his.  See  de  Geoge's  Preface  to  Kitab-ul- 
Bnldaii,  where  the  date  of  Ibn-ul-Faqih's  death,  as  given 
by  Yaqut,  ?',£.,  about  340H.  is  impugned. 

I  may  refer  hero  to  two  other  important  works  ou 
Muslim  Geography  :  Bcazley's  Dawn  oj  Modern  Geoyraphy, 
Vol.  1  (1897)  and  Wright's  Geoyrapliical  Lore,  of  the  Tune 
of  the  Crushes  (NewYork,  1925,)  Tr. 

NOTES  : — Abu  Abdullah  Muhammad  ibn  Ahmad  al-Jaihani,  native 
of  Jaihan,  a  town  in  Khorasan  on  the  bank  of  the  Oxus.  In  301II 
[913  A.  D.j,  al-Amir  Abu  Nasr  Ahmad  ibn  Ismail  as-Samani,  Lord  of 
Khorasan  and  Ma-wara  an-naln1,  was  murdered  by  his  slaves  while  on 
a  hunting  expedition;  and  his  son  Abul  Hasan  Nasr,  then  only  eight 
years  of  age,  was  raised  to  the  Amirship.  Abu  Abdullah  al  Jaihani  was 
charged  wii  h  the  Government  in  the  name  of  Nasr,  and  ruled  with 
iirmnoss  and  wisdom.  Al-Jaihani's  work  was  entitled  Kitdb-ul  Masalik 
ft  Marfati-nl-Mama'ilci  but  having  died  before  he  could  complete  it,  tho 
work  wan  remodelled  and  abridged,  according  to  lleinaud  [ Introduction, 
Ed.  Abulf,  p.  G4],  by  Abu  Bakr  Ahmad  ibn  Muhammad  al  JLimd-ani 
commonly  called  Ibn-ul-Faqih  ;  probably,  he  adds,  the  abridgment  caused 
the  original  work  to  fall  into  neglect.  See  however,  de  Goejo's  preface  to 
his  edition  of  Kitftb-itl-linl'lmi,  part  V-of  the  Dillio,  Geo.  Arab  Series, 


XIX— RELIGION. 


Even  the  inner  religious  consciousness  of  Islam  felt 
fresh  needs  from  the  3rd/9th  century  onwards.  For  the 
satisfaction  of  those  needs  the  old  religions,  always  simmer- 
ing beneath  the  surface,  Christianity,  preeminently,  offered 
their  aid.  By  '  Christianity  '  we  mean  the  Christian 
world  tinged  with  Hellenism.  The  Entire  movement  which 
in  the  course  of  the  third  and  fourth  centuries,  trans- 
formed Islam,  is  nothing  more  or  less  than  the  penetration 
of  Christian  thought  into  the  religion  of  the  Prophet7. 
The  new  religious  ideal  is  described  as  Mar  if  at  Allah  (know- 
ledge of  God)  which  for  the  Prophet  would  have  signified 
nothing  but  blasphemy.  As  its  very  name  betrays,  it  is 
the  old  Gnosis  which  return  to  life  once  again  in  the  land 
of  its  birth  and,  in  those  two  centuries,  secures  ascendancy 
over  the  entire  domain  of  spiritual  life.  In  the  camp  of  the 
free-thinkers  it  shapes  itself  as  Rationalism  and  scientific 
theology;  elsewhere  it  assumes  the  garb  of  mysticism. 
And,  despite  the  vicissitudes  of  world  history,  clear  is  the 
kinship  between  mysticism  aud  rationalism. 

All  the  distinguishing  features  of  the  quondam  Gnosis 
now  reappear :  the  esoterism,  the  mystery-organisation, 
the  different  grades  of  knowledge,  the  theory  of  emana- 
tion, the  parallelism  of  the  two  worlds,  the  fluctuation 
between  asceticism  and  libertinism,  the  conception  as  a 
'path'  to  salvation. 

(1)  The  neo-  Plationism  would  not  by  itself  have  been  able  so 
universally  to  effect  the  mind.  But  it  mnst  not  be  forgotten  that  it  was 
itself  a  child  of  the  old  oriental  wisdom.  In  his  Lectures  of  Islam  Gold- 
ziher  [Eng.  tr.  171]  has  dealt  with  the  clear  but  secondary  Indian  and 
specially  Buddhistic  influences  on  Islam.  It  i&  to  be  noted  that  besides 
Hailaj,  now  and  then,  a  sufi  is  mentioned  who  is  familiar  with  Indian 
wisdom,  [B.  Q.  Kushairi,  102,  and  Hujwiri  272,  On  Kushairi,  see 
Goldsiher's  Lectures  (Eng.  tr.)  p,  188,  Tr, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  281 

The  oldest  sufiistic  writings  that  have  come  down  to 
us-the  writings  of  Muhasibi  (d.  234/818) — show  unmistak- 
able traces  of  strong  Christian  influence.  One  of  these 
begins  with  the  parable  of  the  sower  and  the  other  may 
characterized  as  an  extended  sermon  on  the  mount'.  The 
old  sufi  Shaikh  al-PIakim  ct-Termidi  (d.  285/898)  has  placed 
Jesus  higher  than  the  Prophet '.  Never  before  or  after 
was  the  Islamic  world  'so  "full  of  Gods11.  The  boundary 
between  Allah  and  his  servants  was  effaced.  The  Sufi 
professed  the  doctrine  of  merger  with  him.  The  Hululi 
actually  saw  Allah  walking  in  shoes  at  John's  Market  at 
Baghdad7.  The  Mahdites  played  with  the  idea  of  the 
'Divinity  of  the  Buler'  as  never  before  or  after''.  The  poet 
ibn-Hani  called  out  to  the  Umbrella-holder  of  the  Fatimid 
Caliph  Muiz  (341/365  A.H.)  :— 

0  thou  who  turnest   the  parasol  wherever  he  prome- 
nades, terribly  indeed  under  his  stirrup 

thou  art  rubbing  shoulders  with  Gabriel. 
And  concerning  the  Caliph  when  he    stopped  at  a  place 
called  Rakkada  he  said  : — 

The  messuts  alighted  at  Rakkada,   thore  alighted  Adam 
and  Noah. 

There  alighted  God,  the  Lord  of  Glory,  save  whom 
everything  is  empty  wind7. 

And  at  the  end  of    this  period    stands  the  Caliph 
Hakim,  still  worshipped  as  God  by  the  Druses. 

The  first  Sufi  community  makes  its  appearance  about 
the  year  200/815  and,  indeed',  in  Egypt,  the  very  cradle  of 
Christian  monastieim.  "  In  the  year  199/815  a  party, 
called  the  Sufiyah,  stops  into  light  at  Alexandria,  which 
commanded,  according  to  its  view,  commission  of  acts 
pleasing  unto  God,  and,  thereby,  set  itself  in  opposition  to 
Government.  Their  chief  was  Abdul  Rahman,  the  Sufi*. 
The  very  same  name,  Sufiyah,  is  applied  by  Ibn  . 
Qudaid  (d.  312/925)  to  the  band  which  "commanded  the 
commission  of  acts  pleasing  to  God  and  forbade  those 

(1)  Margoliouth,  Transactions  of  the  third  Religious  Congress, 
Oxford,  Vol.  I,  292.  (2)  Massignon,  Kit  at-Tawa*in,  161,  note  2  (3) 
Abui  Ala,  Kimlat  el-Uvfmn,  JRAS,  1902,  349,  350.  (4)  (See  Hopkins, 
Alexander  Severus,  pp.  166  sq;  Friedlander,  Roman  Life  and  Manners, 
III,  119  ff  tr.)  (5)  much  later  Ibn  Athir  says  (VIII,  457)  that  he  did 
not  find  these  verses  in  the  Diwan  of  Ibn  Hani,  But  they  are  to  be 
found  in  the  Beyrut  edition,  p  46. 

(6)  Al-Kindi,  ed.  Guest,  ,162.  Meqrisri,  Khitat,  1,173.  Also  two 
Hadith  quoted  in  Goldaiher,  fiA,  19Q9,  343  give  the  year  200  as  the 
beginning  of  sufiism. 


282  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

vexations  unto  Him".  Enjoying  the  favour  of  tho  Egyp- 
tian Qadhi  Ibn  ai-Munqadir  (21^-215/827-829)  this  band 
distracted  him  from  his  work  and,  eventually,  ruined  him 
by  causing  him  to  oppose  the  heir  to  the  throne'. 

Therewere  pious  people  too  of  active  habits  who  very 
seriously  took  to  the  old  duty  of  a  good  Muslim  ;  namely, 
to  effectively  interfere  with  the  life  of  the  community. 
These  first  gave  the  name  of  Sufi  to  those  "who  kept 
their  hearts  free  from  frivolities";  a  name  already  widely- 
spread  before  the  year  200?.  In  its  inception  it  had 
nothing  to  do  with  the  later  Sufi  doctrines.  But  even 
Epiphanius  in  the  fourth  century  A.  D.  deplores  the  exis- 
tence of  a  very  considerable  number  of  disorderly  gnostics 
in  Egypt*,  whoso  views  had  passed  into  the  Sufi 
community.  Prof.  Nicholson  has  pointed  to  the  great  influ- 
ence which  the  Egyptian  alchemist  Dhun-Nun  (d.  245/859) 
exercised  on  the  Sufi  doctrines*.  As  a  matter  of  fact  many 
of  the  old  Sufi  shaikhs  of  the  East  did  come  under  the  influ- 
ence of  Egypt".  It  was  only  when  Zaqqaq  died  that  the 
reason  for  the  derweshes  to  go  to  Egypt  ceased  to  exist';. 

If  the  Sufi  system  developed  completely  in  the  East, 
notably  at  Baghdad,  its  progress  was  rapid7.  The  first 
Sufi  of  Baghdad  was  Sari  es-Saqati  (i.  e.  second-hand 
dealer ).  He  gave  up  his  trade,  lived  at  home  and  died  in 
253/867  (Zubdatel-PiJirah,PMi*,  56;  Schreiner,  ZDMG, 
52,  515).  He  attained  fame  by  being  the  first  to  speak  at 
Baghdad  of  Tauhid  (Monism)  and  of  Hagaiq  (inner  reli- 
gious truth).  (Tadliliirat-ul-Auliya^  1,  274  apud  Nicholson, 
JRAS  1906,  322;  al-Watari,  Haudat  en-Nazirin,  8).  He 
is  said  to  have  been  the  first  to  teach  of  Maqamat  (Sta- 
tions) and  Ahwal  (  States ).  (Kaslif  el-Mahjub,  tr.  by 
Nicholson,  p.  110).  The  first  who  is  said  to  have  used  the 
mystic  terms :  "Friendship,  Purity  of  thought,  Unity  of 
Effort,  Love,  Suffering",  was  Abu  Hamzah  es-Sadafi 

(l)  Kind!  440.  (He  wrote  to  Mamun  objecting  to  the  government 
of  Mutasim).  (2)  Kushairi,  Bisala,  (written  in  437/1045),  Cairo,  p.  9. 
(9)  Hilgenfeld,  Ketzergeschic.hte,  283. 

(4)  JRAS,  1906,  309  if.  (5)  et-Tustari  (d,  283),  Kushairi,  17 ; 
Nakhshabi  (d.  245)  heard  the  Egyptian  el-Attar  (Kushairi,  20)  and 
transmitted  many  of  his  views.  Ibn  el-Jalli,  the  Sufi  Shaikh  in  Syria, 
heord  Dhun-Nun  (Kush,  24)  and,  similarly,  Yusuf  Ibn  el-Husain,  Shaikh 
of  Bai  and  Media  (d.  80  A.H.)  and  Abu  Sa'id  el-Sharraz  (d.2?7).  Kushairi, 
25  f.  (6)  Kushairi.  25.  (1)  The  Baghdadian  tradition  says  nothing  of 
Egypt.  The  oldest  historian  of  this  religious  order-al-Khuldi  (d*  384/994) 
traces  the  Sufi  doctrines,  through  the  Baghdadian  Maruf  al-Karkhi 
(d.  207/922)  to  the  celebrated  old  ascetic  Hasan  of  Basra,  Fihrist,  188, 


THE  ttENAtSSANCti  OF  ISLAM  283 

(d.  269/882).  He  was  the  disciple  of  Ahmad  Ibn  Hauqal 
who  addressed  him  :  0  Sufi,  (Abulmahasin,  II,  47;  Zubdat 
el-Fikrah,  fol.  73,  a)  He  is  said  to  have  just  spoken  about 
it  on  the  pulpit  of  the  Eusafa-ruosquo  when  he  had  a 
stroke.  His  contemporary  Taifur  al-Bistami  apparently 
was  the  author  of  the  allegory  of  "intoxication",  which, 
along  with  Love,  has  profoundly  influenced  Muslim 
mysticism'.  The  essentially  un-Islamic  prayer  (?)  of  Ali  Ibn 
Muwaffaq  (d.  265/878)  has  come  down  to  us  :  "God,  if  I 
serve  thee  for  fear  of  Hell,  punnh  me,  then,  with  Hell;  if  I 
serve  thee  for  the  gain  of  Heaven,  deprive  me  then  of  it, 
but  if  1  serve  thee  out  of  pure  love,  do  then  with  rne  what 
thou  wiliest"3.  The  Baghdadian  Abu  Sa'id  al-Kharraz 
(d.  277/890),  pupil  of  the  Egyptian  Dhun-Nun,  first  pro- 
pounded the  doctrine  of  self-annihilation,  of  complete 
merger  in  God  (Fana)  ;  a  very  ancient  Gnostic  doctrine 
which,  to  be  sure,  has  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  the 
Indian  Nirvan''.  At  Nisabur  Hamdun  el-Qassab,  tho 
butcher,  (d,  271/884)  first  persued  the  "path  of  blame", 
preferring  the  incurring  of  ill  repute  to  honour  which 
diverted  him  from  God.  This  was  the  beginning  of  the 
extraordinary  school  of  the  Malauiatis,  4the  shabby  saints' 
(Kashf,  pp.  66,  125).  Even  this  is  no  new  idea.  In  his 
Bepublic  Plato,  in  the  beginning  of  the  second  book, 
describes  the  truly  just  bearing  the  reputation  of  injustice 
(Jowett's  tr.  Ill  pp.  40-41). 

And,  thus  the  Sufis  deflected  from  their  old  path. 
In  the  earlier  days  they,  in  their  pious  zieal,  interfered  with 
the  life  of  the  community  "bidding  them  do  good  and 
keeping  them  back  from  evil"  and  thus  they  did,  at  times, 
even  in  opposition  to  Government.  But  Ibn  al-Nakhshad 
(d.  366/976),  defines,  Sufiism  to  be  the  very  reverse  of  itp 
former  self";  Namely,  as  "patient  endurance  of  command 
and  prohibition"*:  i.  e.  indifference  towards  the  life  of  the 
community. 

As  in  philology  and  scholasticism,  so  in  thifc  sphere  too,* 
Basra  and  Baghdad  stood  in  striking  contrast  to  each  other. 


(1)  Kashf  el-Mc^il^^l84^)^Ziibd^  al-Fikrak,  Paris,  fol.  47  a. 
(I  don't  quite  understand  why  Mez  calls  this  prayer  un-Islamic.  One  of  our 
poets  has  expressed  this  very  idea  in  language  of  superb  beauty  : 

Ghalib, 


(3)  Kashf  el-Mahjub,  143,  242  ff.  Even  in  the  5/llth  century  the 
"unlettered  Sufis"  were  attacked  for  teaching  among  other  things  the 
doctrine  of  complete  annihilation  (fanai  Kulliyah).  ^  It  is  significant  that 
Hujwiri  criticises  this  idea  p,  243.  (4^  Kush,  34  "es-Sabr  taht  el-  Arm* 
wan  nahy", 


284  THE  BUNA18&&NCE  OF  IS 

Uaghdad  was  the  headquarters  of  the  Sufis  ;  whereas  Basra 
was  the  centre  of  Ztthad  i.  e.  the  pious  of  the  old  type. 
Even  at  the  time  of  Mukaddasi  Basra  was  tho  town  of  the 
Zuliad.  Hasan,  she  cliief  of  their  school,  was  credited  with 
a  nasty  fling  at  the  woolen  cowl  of  the  Sufis1  . 

But  this  fact  has  not  stood  in  tho  way  of  the  Sufis  claim- 
ing the  most  famous  of  their  opponents  as  their  own  and 
accepting  the  very  same  Hasan  of  Basra,  the  most  popular 
saint  of  Mesopotamia,  as  the  first  teacher  of  their  school. 
The  genealogy  was  yet  further  extended.  The  attempt  to 
trace  the  beginnings  of  tho  Sufi  principles  to  the  Prophet 
himself  shows  itself  in  assigning  to  Hasan  a  teacher  from 
among  his  companions  ;  one  Hudaifa,  recipient  from  him  of 
a  secret  doctrine  of  the  gift  of  singling  out  "hypocrites". 
And  indeed~so  goes  the  report-whenever  the  Caliph  Omar 
was  called  to  a  funeral  prayer  he  always  made  sure  of  tho 
presence  of  Hudaifa  before  loading  the  prayer''.  About  the  ond 
of  the  3rd/9th  century  the  discipics  of  Sari  carried  the  Bagli- 

(1)  Even  tho  founder  of  the  malikite  school  is  said  to  have  disap- 
proved of  tho  woolen  cowl  because  of  its  ostentatious  display.  There 
was  rough  cotton  wool  at  once  cheap  and  undemonstrative.  Ibn  aWIajj, 
Mwlkhal  II,  18;  Goldzihcr,  WZKM  13,  40.  Even  here  there  was  a 
contrast.  (Our  Literature  is  Full  of  such  attacks, 

JlAFiz  :-— 


* 

*  o>*»*j  rff  U  JUjI 
WAIISUI  :— 


Tr.)    (2)     Makki,    1,  149  (GoMzihev,  Muli.  .S/m/iVw,  II,  14   "There  are 

statements,  says   Gold^iher,  in  the  euuni  tradition  that  the    prophet 

favoured  certain  'companions'   with   teachings   which   he  withheld   from 

the  others.     Hndaif,  one  \vho  also  bears  the  title  of   Saliib  al-Sirr  or 

N.  Sirr  al-nubi   (possessor  of  tho  secret  of  the  prophet),    was   specially 

favoured  in  thin  respect.  (Bukh,  Ixtiilun,  No.  38.  Fada'il  al-udwb,  No.27). 

It  is  now  interesting  to  see  that  this  notice,   which   of  course  can  mean 

nothing  but  that  Hudaifa  received  esoteric  instruction  from   tho  prophet, 

is  interpreted    by   the    theologians    to  mean     tha   Mohamed   gave  this 

companion  the  names  of  persons  of  doubtful  standing    (Munafikuu^,  not 

therefore  any  esoteric  religions  teaching  (Nawawi,  TaJulhib,  200,6).     But 

we  find  Hudaifa  actually  the  authority  for  a  number  of   apocalyptic    and 

eschatological  Hadtthx.     In  the  canon   of  Muslim  (V.  165)   in   the  section 

'Prerogatives  of  Abdullah  Jbn  Jafar'  the  following  statement  ah.  ut  tins 

man  is  included:  4*One  day  the  prophet  made  me  mount  behind  him,  he  then 

secretly  whispered  to  me  a  Iladith  that  1  was  not  to  communicate  to  any 

one".  Bukhavi  lias  not  included  this  utterance.  It  is  to  be  noted  that  this 

Abdullah  Ibn  Jafar  was  only  ton  years  old  when  the  prophet  died".  Gold- 

jsiher,  Lwiurcx  ou  JxUini,  p.   206  Tr.)    Thought-raiding  and  visions  of  hell 

played  a  great  role  among  the  Sufis  of  the  fourth  century  Knshairi,126  ff. 


THE  &ENA1SKANCE  Ofr  I&LAM  285 

dadian  tiufiisui  throughout  the  empire:  M usa  el- Ansari  (died 

'circa  320/932)  from  Merv  to  Khorasan;  al-Rudbari  (died  circa 

322/934  in  old  Cairo)  to  Egypt ;  Abu  Zaid  al-Adarni  (d.341/ 

952  at  Mecca)  to    Arabia'.    With    ThaciM.fi  (d,  328/940) 

Sufiism   entered  Nisabur'    and  about   tho  end  of  the  4th 

century  of  tho  Hegira  Shiraz  was  particularly  full  ol  Sufis''. 

In  the  first  half  of  the  5th/lith  century  the  Afghan  al-Huj- 

wiri  met  in   Ehorasau    alone  300   Su6  shaikhs   who  had 

such  mystical   endowments  that  a   single  man   of  them 

would  have  been  enough  for  the  whole  world*.    About  300/- 

912  there  lived  at  Baghdad  three  Suli  Shaikhs  Bide  by  side : 

es-Shiblij   his   father    had  been  a  court -marshal   and   he 

himself  had  held  several    offices,  famous  for    allegories 

(Ivharat);  Abu  Ahmad  el-Murta'is  (d.328/939),  master  of 

Sufiistic  aphorisms  ;  and,  al-Khuldi  (d.  3 J 8/959  at  the  age 

of  95),  the  first  historian  of  that  school  who  prided   himself 

on  carrying  threo  hundred  Sufi  Diivanx  in  his  head". 

Even  anterior  to  Sufiism  there  had  been  Muslim 
hermits  and  cloisters.  In  one  case  the  Christian  model  is 
manifest :  Fihr  Ibn  Jabir  (d. 325/936)  had  widely  travelled, 
had  come  much  in  contact  with  Christian  monks  and,  at 
the  age  of  fifty,  had  retired  to  the  mountain  chains  of 
Damascus.  He  wrote  a  book  on  "Asceticism"  containing 
a  history  of  Christian  inonasticism  and  presented  it  to  the 
mosque  of  Damascus0.  In  the  Syrian  mountain  range  of 
Jhaulan  Mukaddasi  met  Abu  Ishaq  el-balluti  with  forty 
men,  They  wore  wool  and  shared  a  common  dormitory. 
Their  chief  was  a  jurist  of  the  school  of  Sufyan  Tlmuri. 
They  lived  on  acorns,  meal  of  which  they  mixed  with  wild 
barley(?).  The  largest  cloistral  organization  stands  to  the 
credit  of  the  Kirramites,  followers  of  Mohamed  Ibn  Kin-am7. 
They  had  cloisters  (Ehanqah)  in  Iran  and  Trausoxiana" 
and  one  in  Jerusalam".  A  Kirramite  settelment  (mahalla) 
is  reported  in  the  capital  of  Egypt.''  Mukaddasi  read  at 
Nisabur  in  the  letter  of  a  Kirramite  that  the  order  had  700 
cloisters  in  the  Maghrib  but  the  traveller  confesses  that 


(1)  llaudat  cn-Nazirin,  13.  (2)  Kushairi,  13.  (3)  Muk,  4o9. 
(4)  Kaslrf  cl-Malijub,  174.  (5)  Fihritt,  183  ;  Abuhnahasin,  II,  292; 
Raudat  cn*Nazirin,  12,  13,  1-5.  \6)  Masriq,  1908.  pp.  883  ff.  (7)  The 
name  is  to  be  read  thus  according  to  the  Diet.  Tech.  Terms,  p.  1266. 
(8)  Muk,  323,  365. 

(9)     Muk,  179;  Ibn  Ha&in,   IV,   204,  in   Khorasan  and  Jerusalem, 
The  founder,  a  Sijisfcanian,  died  in  255/868  in  Syria  (Ahul  Fida, 
year  255,  • . 


286  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

there  was  not  even  one'.  At  Jerusalam  they  performed 
Zihr  at  the  kirramite  cloister  at  which  something  was  read 
out  from  a  book  (duffer),  not  unlike  what  the  Hanajites 
did  at  the  mosque  of  Anir.  They  were  an  order  of  mendi- 
cants and  preached  renunciation  of  things  worllly  and 
put  forward  fear  of  God,  humility,  poverty  as  their  faith 
and  practice1'.  The  Sufis  had  no  cloisters  then.  They, 
then,  at  best,  had  huts  intended  for  devotional  purposes 
which  they  called  by  the  military  term  '  Eibat '  (fortress). 
The  pious  seem  to  have  resided  in  these  huts,  When  the 
Sufi  al-Husri  (d.370/980)  became  old,  he,  only  with  diffi- 
culty, could  go  to  the  chief  mosque.  The  people,  therefore, 
built  for  him  a  'Eibat',  opposite  to  the  Mansur-mosque, 
named  after  his  disciple  ez-Zauzani.  (See  Maqrizi's  obser- 
vations. Khitat,  1,  414.  The  cloisters  (Khanqah)  came 
into  existence  about  the  year  400/1009  see  Muk,  415 ; 
KiiHhairi,  17  ;  Ibn  al-Jauzi,  Berlin,  fol  119  a). 

They  wore  the  special  dress  of  their  order  ;  namely  a 
woolen  coat  and  a  piece  of  cloth  hanging  down  from  the 
head.  Later  blue  was  adopted  as  their  colour  because  it 
was  the  colour  of  mourning  or  possibly  because  it  was  best 
suited  to  a  wandering  people*.  The  first  supposition  seems 
to  be  right  ;  for  ihsjittah  (the  head-cloth)  too  was  used  in 
mourning  as  covering  for  the  head5. 

"I  took  a  prayer  rug,  long  as  a  day,  and  shaved  off  my 
moustache  which  I  had  allowed  to  grow"  sings  Ibn  Abdel 
Aziz  es-Susi  in  the  4th/10bh  century  of  his  sufi  days 
(Yatimah,  III,  237).  As  with  the  German  pietists,  so  with 
the  Sufis,  spiritual  songs  play  a  great  part  in  their  divine 
service.  As  already  stated  by  Jahiz  (d.255/869)  the  truly 
spiritual  poet  must  be  a  sufi  (Bayan,  1,  41).  "Now  I  wept 
with  them  and  now  I  declaimed  poems  to  them" — Mukad- 
dasi  says  of  the  gatherings  of  the  Sufis  at  Sus  (p.415).  In 
the  5/11  century  dance  was  saperadded  to  songs,  Hujwiri 
reports  that  he  met  a  group  of  Sufis  whose  sufiism  mainly 
consisted  in  dancing  (Kashf,  416).  Ma'arri  (d.  449/1057) 
too,  taunts  them  thus  :  Has  God  ordained  your  devotion 
to  consist  merely  in  dancing  and  gorging  like  animals  ? 
Women  from  the  roofs  or  elsewhere  used  to  watch  them 
practice  singing  and  Hujwiri,  therefore,  warns  the  novices 
against  this  (Kasbf,  420).  But  soon  the  Sufi  imagination 

( l)Muk,  202  ;  235. 

(2)  Muk,  182.  f3)  Muk,  41;  Kalabadi,  fol.  94  a;  Goidziher, 
WZKM  13,  p.  43  note  2  (see  Hannah.  Christian  MonasticUm  pp.  78-79 
Tr.)  (4)  Kashf  53.  (5)  Subki,  II,  257.  In^the  5/11  century  the  Sufis 
rarely  used  wool,  the  usual  garment  being  the  patched  coat 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  287 

provides  paradise  with  stools  (Kursi)  which  relieve  the 
pious  from  the  obligation  of  dancing;  for  these  stools,  fitted 
with  wings,  beat  time,  gently  or  violently,  as  the^case  may 
be,  with  music,  causing  ecstasy  thereby7. 

There  was,  indeed,  no  obligation  to  beg  but  Khware- 
zmi  speaks  of  the  Sufi  "as  une  who  exacts  from  us  without 
us  exacting  anything  from  him"2.  Such  Sufis  are  also 
called  "Faqir"  (Poor)'1.  Mukaddasi  tells  us  that  as  a  Sufi 
he  required  but  little  money  in  Shiraz;  for  every  day  he 
had  an  invitation  and  "What  an  invitation''.  Rudbari 
II  (d.  3G9/979),  chief  of  the  Syrian  Sufis,  rich  and  influen- 
tial, who  traced  his  descent  from  the  Sassanids,  never 
announced  an  invitation  to  a  meal  to  his  fraternity  but, 
when  invited,  he  fed  them  first  to  prevent  them  from 
gorging  outside  and,  thereby,  disgracing  the  order5.  His 
grandfather,  Rudbari  I,  who  lived  at  Old  Cairo  (d,32'2/933), 
"once  purchased  loads  of  white  sugar,  sent  for  a  band  of 
confectioners,  and  had  a  wall  made  out  of  the  sugar  with 
pillars  and  battlements  with  decorative  inscriptions.  He, 
then,  invited  the  Sufis  to  attack  and  plunder  it*.  His  bro- 
therhood soon  won  the  reputation  of  eating  well.  "The 
appetite  of  the  Sufi's"  became  proverbial7 

Even  then  the  gravest  danger  to  the  brotherhood  was 
precisely  the  same  as  that  which  threatened  the  order 
of  the  mendicants  in  the  Mediaeval  Europe  :  the  combi- 
nation of  contraries  and  the  friendship  of  women.  To 
this,  as  a  peculiarly  oriental  danger  was  added  "the  in- 
tercourse with  young  boys"*. 

A  Shaikh,  who  died  in  277/890,  is  reported  to  have 
said  :  I  saw  the  devil  at  a  distance  as  he  passed  by.  And 
I  spoke  to  him  :  what  do  you  want  here  ?  He  rejoined  : 
What  shall  I  do  with  you  ?  You  have  rid  yourself  of 
that  with  which  I  used  to  tempt.  And  wrhat  was  that  ? 
I  questioned.  "The  world",  he  replied.  When  he  pro- 
ceeded a  little,  he  turned  round  to  me  and  spoke  :  but  one 
temptation  I  still  possess  for  you — the  intercourse  with 
young  boys"'". 


(muraqqa).  Kasf,  45ff.  The  patched  coat  and  the  woolen  cowl 
early  indeed  became  the  costume  of  the  ascetics.  When  the  woolen  coat 
became  the  distinguishing  feature  of  the  Sufis — the  patched  coat  became 
the  dress  of  the  irregulars.  Khufhairi,  23,  198;  Irshad,  II,  292,  294. 
(1)  Samarqandi,  Qurrat  al-Uyuntvn  the  margin  of  Baud,  173.  (2)  Bas- 
ail,  90.  (3)  Muk,  416;  Kushairi,  14,  32,  33  (4)  p.  416.  (6)  Kuabairi 
36.  (6)  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  102. 

(7)    The  alibi,  Boojc  of    supports,  ZDMG,  V,  302,  (8)  Kushairi,  26, 
(9;  Kushairi,  27, 


288  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

And  al-Wasiti  (died  after  320/0321  is  reported  to  have 
said  :  "When  the  almighty  wishes  to  make  a  servant  of 
His  contemptible,  He  drives  him  to  this  sink,  meaning, 
"intercourse  with  young  boys1'''.  Even  Hujwiri  in  the 
5/1 1th  century  concedes2  that  ignorant  Sufis  made 
pedarastic  intercourse  a  religious  rule,  with  the  result 
that  common  people  shunned  the  order. 

The  mystics   have  always   shown  a  tendency  to  dis- 
regard the   laws  along   with   things  earthly.     "Among  the 
Sufis   there  are  always   some   who  maintain  that  for  him 
who  "under-stands   God  laws   do  not   exist,  others  even 
add    that   such   an  one   is   united    with   God".     We   have 
heard  it  said  that  there  is  a  man  at  Nisabur  to  day,   called 
Abu  Zaid,   belonging  to   the   circle  of   the  Sufis,   who,   at 
one   time   wears    wool  and   at   another  silk   which    is  for- 
bidden  to   men,    who   makes     1000  prostrations   one  day 
and  never  prays  at  all   the   next,   neither  the   compulsory 
nor  the  optional  prayer  (Ferz  and  Sunnaf).     But   this  in- 
deed,   is   inanifest  infidelity'.    Ibn   Hazm    further    com- 
[jlains   that  a   party  of  the   Sufis   contend   that  'for  him 
who    has    attained     the    summit    of    holiness,    religious 
commands   such   as  prayer,   fasting,  alms   etc  are  unne- 
cessary.   In  fact   tilings  forbidden  such  as  wine,  inconti- 
nence   oto    etc  are  permissible    to   him.     And    for  this 
reason,   the   members    of  this    party    permit     association 
with   other  men's   wives.     They  affirm   that  they  see  God 
and   hold   conversation   with   him   and   that  whatever   He 
puts  in   their   heart  is  true*. 

Hujwiri  states  the  doctrine  "where  the  truth  (Haqiqah 
is  revealed,  the  Law  (Shariah)  is  abrogated"  to  be  the 
doctrine  of  the  heretical  Carmathians  and  the  Shiites 
and  their  bewitched  followers7.  It  was  related  of  a 
Sufi  to  Rudabari  (d,  322/933),  the  Shaikh  of  that  order, 
that  he  listened,  with  rapt  attention,  to  cheerful  music, 
because  he  had  reached  the  stage  at  which  the  differences 
of  "conditions"  (halat)  did  not  matter.  To  this  the  Shaikh 
replied  :  He  has  indeed  attained  something,  viz.  Hell. 

Most  of  the  old  Sufis  were  married.  A  brother  was 
actually  saved  by  a  miracle  from  "the  wiles  of  a  wicked 
wife"6'.  A  reniowned  Sufi  shared  a  female  servant  with 
two  other  Shaikhs.  Her  name  Zaitunah  (olive)  suggestes 
that  she  was  a  slave-girl7.  He  made  a  gift  of  a  slave-girl 


(1)  Kushairi,  29.  (2)  Kashi  416,  420,  (Khuda  Bukhsh  Islamic 
Civilization,  Vol  I  pp.  108-  109,  2nd  Ed.  Tr.).  [31  Ibn  Hazm,  IV,  188. 
[4]  Ibn  Haam,  IV,  226  Schreiner,  ZDMG  62,  476.  [5]  Kashf,  383, 
[8]  Kushairi,  31,  [7]  Kushairi,  198.  [8]  ftavd.  en-natrin,  1Q, 


TBE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISI, AM  289 

who  had  been  presented  to  him  for  a  wife  to  a  companion.1 
Shibli  was  married3.  Ibn  abil  Hawaii  (d.  230),  'the  flower 
of  Syria',  had  four  wives  and  likewise  his  contemporary 
Hatim  al-asarain,  a  great  sufi  of  Khorsan,  who  left  behind 
nine  children3.  It  is,  therefore  all  the  more  surprising  that 
outside  suffiisrn  there  were  ascetic  circles  who  practised  the 
entirely  non-muslim  institution  of  celibacy.  In  the  Bustan- 
el-arifin  of  the  Hanafite  Abul  Laith  es-Samarqandi  (d. 
383/995)  it  is  recommended  to  him  who  came  to  remain 
single  (hasur)  and  to  serve  God  with  an  undivided  devotion*. 

In  the  4th/10th  century  this  view  triumphed  and 
captured  suffiism  ;  for  in  the  5th/llth  century  Hujwiri 
says  :  "It  is  the  unanimous  opinion  of  the  Shaikhs  of 
this  sect  that  the  best  and  most  excellent  sufis  are  the 
celibates,  if  their  hearts  are  uncontaminated  and  if  their 
natures  are  not  inclined  to  sins  and  lusts.  In  short 
sufiism  is  founded  on  celibacy  ;  the  introduction  of 
marriage  brought  about  a  change  ";T.  This  is  the  very 
reverse  of  the  truth. 

Hujwiri   is  also  the  first  to  report   of  mock-marriages 
among  the  Sufis.     He   reports  of   a   Shaikh   of  the  3rd/9th 
century  who   lived  for  five  and  sixty  years  without  touch- 
ing his  wife6   and   of   the   famous   Khafif  in  Shiraz   (371/ 
981),   of  royal   descent,     whom   women   wished   to   marry 
for  the  blessing   which  he  brought.     Thus  he  concluded  400 
marriages   only  to 'part  with   his  wives   without   touching 
them7.     Hujwiri  himself  was  unmarried.     "After  God   had 
preserved   me  for  eleven  years   from  the  dangers  of  matri- 
mony, it  was  my  destiny   to  fall  in  love  with  the  descrip- 
tion  of  a   woman  whom   I   had  never  seen,  and  during   a 
whole  year  my  passion   so  absorbed    rne  that  my  religion 
was  near  being  ruined,   until  at  last   God  in   His  bounty 
gave  protection  to  my  wretched    heart    and    mercifully 
delivered  me8. 

With  the  development  of  this  doctrine  of  celibacy 
there  was  much  dissatisfaction  in  the  ranks  of  the  Sufis. 
The  first  historian  of  the  order  (d.341/952)  has  completely 
distorted  his  history  and  inverted  the  order  of  events. 
He  has  dealt  with  the  Basran,  the  Syrian,  the  Khorasa- 
nian  and  the  Baghdadian  ascetics  and  has  concluded 
with  Junaid  who,  according  to  him,  was  the  last  sufi 

[ll  Baud.    en-Nazrin,   12.   (2)  Ibid   p.  12. 

[3]  Ibid,  198.  [4]  Amedroz,  Notes  on  some  snfi  lives,  JEAS, 

1912,  558.  [5]  Kashf,  363, 364.  [6]  Kashf,  362.  [7]  Kashf,  247. 
[8]  Kashf,  364 


2&0  THM  HENAISSANGti  Ul<  ISLAM 

teacher ;  adding  that  "  what  came  after  him  can  only  be 
mentioned  with  shame"'.  The  Sufi  saint  Salil  el-Tustari 
(according  to  Kushairi  he  died  in  273/886  or 
•183/896)  is  credited  with  a  prophecy  that  after  the  year 
302/914  there  will  be  no  such  thing  as  sufiism,  for  there 
will  come  a  people  to  whom  dress  \\ould  be  of  greatest 
moment  ;  language,  a  mere  affectation,  and  God,  their 
belly1*.  And  in  439/1047  Kushairi  addressed  his  circular 
letter  to  all  the  Sufis  in  the  empire  of  Islam  because  con- 
tentment had  ceased,  covetousness  had  assumed  gigantic 
proportions,  prayer  and  fasting  had  lost  all  seriousness 
and  they  looked  to  common-folk,  women  and  Government 
for  patronage  and  support  and  regarded  the  alleged  union 
with  God  as  an  annulment  of  all  laws,  temporal  and 
spiritual'*.  In  these  later  times  as  a  counterpoise  to  the 
spreading  demoralization  severe  excercises  of  penance 
were  ascribed  to  the  old  Sufi  Shaikhs.  Es-Sari  never  took 
meat  and  always  reserved  the  last  bit  of  his  food  for  a 
little  bird*.  For  sixty  years  he  never  lay  down  but  when 
sleep  overwhelmed  him  he  dropped  off  in  a  sitting  posture 
in  his  parlour5.  An  anecdote,  not  unlike  that  of  Diogenes, 
is  related  of  him.  His  pupil  Junaid  states  :  One  day  I 
came  to  Sari  es-Saqati  and  found  him  in  tears.  I  asked 
the  reason  and  he  replied  :  Yesterday  a  girl  came  to  me 
and  said  :  Father,  it  is  a  hot  nignt.  Here  is  a  cup  of 
cold  drink.  I  leave  it  here.  Thereupon  I  dreamt  of  a 
beautiful  girl  descending  from  heaven.  I  questioned  her  : 
to  whom  do  you  belong  ?  She  rejoined  :  to  him  who 
drinks  not  a  cold  drink  out  of  a  cup.  Then  I  took  the  cup, 
threw  it  on  the  ground  smashing  it  into  bits6. 

Ruwaini  (d.  305/917),  passing  at  midday  through  a 
street  of  Baghdad,  felt  thirsty  and  asked  for  a  drink  at  a 
house.  A  girl  came  out  with  a  cup  of  water  and  said  : 
A  sufi  who  drinks  during  the  day  !  Since  then  he  fasted 
perpetually  (i.e.  only  ate  or  drank  between  dark  and  dawn)7. 
Junaid  is  reported  to  have  prayed  300  Eiqahs  and  counted 
Tasbihat  every  twenty-four  hours8  and  to  have  had  food  once 
a  week'\  It  is  also  reported  that  being  corpulent,  people 
doubted  the  genuineness  of  his  love  for  God'*.  Bishr  passed 
by  some  people  who  said  :  This  man  keeps  awake  all  night 
and  eats  but  once  in  three  days.  Then  Bishr  began  to  weep 
saying:  I  do  noi  at  all  remember  keeping  awake  all  night  or 

[1]  Makki,  126.  [2]  Makki  126.  [3]  Eisalah,  3.  [4]  Qazwini, 
Cosmography,  ed.  Wustenfeld  216.  [5]  Watari  Randal  cn-Nazirin,  8. 
16]  Kushairi,  12.  (7)  Kushairi  24,  Qazwinni,  218.  [8]  Ziibdat  al- 
Fikrah,  164  a.  [9]  Qazwini,  216.  ilQ]Baudctt  en-nazirin  12.  Other 
instances  of  renunciation  from  later  sources  in  Amedroz,  JEAS  1912,  559, 


THE  RENAISSA  NCE  OF  1  XL  A  M  291 

fasting  a  day  without  breaking  the  fast  at  night  i  but  God 
out  of  goodness  and  generosity,  gives  greater  credit  to  his 
servant  than  he  deserves7. 

The  Sufi  system  is  unthinkable  apart  from  the  scholas* 
tic  system  (mutazilah)  for  it  has  taken  up  its  problems 
and  has  adopted  its  methods.  Look,  for  instance,  to  the 
saying  of  the  Sufi  Haint  Iba  al-Katib  who  died  about 
340/951  :  the  scholastics  (rnutazilah)  have  purified  the  idea 
of  God  through  reasoning  and  have  missed  the  mark  ;  the 
sufis  have  purified  it  through  knowledge  (Urn)  and  have 
succeeded2.  And  thus  in  the  mutazalite  Persia  sufiism 
spread  most  rapidly1.  They  made  the  favourite  mutazalite 
theme,  the  freedom  of  the  will,  the  centre  of  their  doctrine 
and  taught  consistant  determinism,  thus  :  he,  who  is 
indifferent  alike  to  praise  and  censure,  is  an  ascetic  (zahid); 
ha,  who  faithfully  fulfills  his  religious  obligations,  is  pious 
(Abid)  ;  he,  who  sees  everything  as  happening  from  God, 
is  a  monist  (ez-^akariyyah  in  Kushairi  ^4V. 

But  the  Sufi  fatalism  is  not,  indeed,  the  mechanical 
determinism  of  average  philosophy.  They  have  imparted  to 
it  a  religious  content.  The  old  Islam,  irdeed  inculcated 
trust  in  God;  but  the  Stifle  now  taught,  with  the  greatest 
emphasis,  that  unconditional  trust  which  suppresses  all 
personal  initiative  for  "the  pious  before  God  is  like  the  dead 
before  the  corpse-washer  "5. 

The  outstanding  feature  of  the  Sufiism  in  the  4th/10th 
century  is  this  unbounded  trust  in  God  which  for  ever 

[1]  Kushairi.  13  [2]  Kushairi,  32,  that  is  to  say  :  the  Mutazalite  deny 
in  God  the  deductive  method  of  man;  whereas  the  Sufi  deny  in  Him  the 
inductive,  cf.  massignon,  Hallaj.  187.  [3]  A  poet,  who  was  at  once  a 
mutazalite  and  an  ascetic,  for  instance,  Yatimcih,  IV,  1*24.  Abu  Hayyan 
et-Tauhidi,  the  heat  progs  writer  of  the  4th/10th  eentury,  was  also  a 
mutazalite  andan  ascetic,  Yaqut,  Irshad  V,  382  [4]  It  is  difficult  to  see 
how  they  can  have  made  the  freedom  of  of  the  will  and  determinism  their 
miin  themes.  [5]  The  expression  'Perinde  ac  Cadaver'  appears  here  for 
the  first  time.  In  the  4th/10th  century  it  could  not  have  been  common 
expression  for  whereas  Kalabadi  (d  380/990)  uses  it,  Makki  (386/996) 
does  not.  On  the  other  hand  Kushairi,  90.  [Goldziher,  WZKM  1899, 
42,  In  this  paper  Goldziher  discusses  the  importance  of  the  doctrine  of 
Tawakkul  for  the  ascetic],  It  will  be  difficult  to.  find  jt  more  luminous 
dxpoaition  of  the  doctrine  of  Tawakkul  than  in  Hafiz  :  — 

HAFIZ  :  — 


AND  SAYS  SHAHI  :—  • 

L^^JJX    J|5} 
AND  SAYS  TAWPIQ  —         U  jlafcLj  j  JA^  »! 


292  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

opens  the  treasure  of  God  to  the  pious  i.  e.  the  protestant 
doctrine  of  the  grace  of  God.  No  fewer  than  four  stages 
(stations)  of  their  spiritual  doctrine  were  connected  with 
it;  besides  "  trust  ",  "patience",  "  contentment",  "hope". 
These  views  have  profoundly  influenced  Islam ;  in  fact, 
they  have  impressed  upon  it  that  character  which  is 
designated  to-day  as  muslim  Fatalism.  Neither  the  Fata- 
lism of  the  theologian  nor  yet  of  the  astrologer  has  achieved 
results  which  the  sufi  doctrine  has  ;  for  it  drew  the  logical 
consequences  of  this  doctrine  and  applied  then  to  practical 
and  daily  life. 

The  terminology  of  the  muslim  fatalism  did  not  come 
into  existence  first  at  this  time  but  was  collected  and 
emphasized  as  it  is  still.  (The  root  fatali  which,  is  later 
used  exclusively  in  this  connexion  (Goldziher,  WZKM, 
1899,  48  ff),  only  occasionally  appears  now).  And  indeed, 
everything  has  always  turned  upon  it. 

Through  Sufi  precepts  and  examples  it  was  dinned 
into  e^very  muslim  ear  that  for  every  human  being  his 
success  and  failure  has  been  irrevocably  fixed  long  before 
his  birth  and  to  seek  to  evade  it  was  as  idle  as  to  evade 
death  for  what  was  writ  was  writ ;  that  to  worry  in  the 
morning  for  the  evening  was  tantamount  to  sin7;  that 
neither  force  nor  cunning  would  lure  fate  to  alter  the 
portion  assigned  to  us";  that  it  would  be  heathenism  to 
provide  for  the  moirow  even  if  the  heaven  were  to  become 
copper  and  the  earth  lead ;  that  individual  subsistence 
was  allotted  2000  years  before  the  creation  of  the  body3. 
And  finally  they  fortified  and  sanctified  the  servile  trust 
in  God-and  this  is  most  important  from  the  religious  point 
of  yiew-into  submissive  cheerfulness  in  the  divine  dispen- 
sation, into  amor  fati  (Rida)  with  the  result  that  "ill  luck 
became  as  acceptable  as  good  luck  "  and  "  hell  no  matter 
of  discontent,  if  so  willed  by  God  "A 


*  5  &* 
(1) 

9s  <>  &*> 

o^  Ux; 
(2) 


(3)  Makki,  II,  7,  9;  Makki,  Qulb  al-QuMb.  HI,  9, 

(4)  Knsbairi,  106,  107. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  293 

The  indifference  of  the  genuine  snfii  is  illustrated  by 
the  well-known  story  of  the  Dervish  who  fell  into  the 
Tigris.  A  man  from  the  bank  saw  that  he  could  not  swim. 
He  called  out  to  him  if  he  should  offer  him  help.  No 
replied  the  unfortunate  man.  What,  do  you  wish  to  be 
drowned  ?  No.  What,  then  do  you  want  ?  That  which 
is  the  will  of  God.  What  else  should  I  want  ?'. 

Already  at  the  beginning  of  the  Sufi  movement 
Muhasibi  (d.  234/848)  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  to  teach 
amor  fat i  sheer  joy  in  the  divine  dispensation,  a  doctrine 
which  is  distinct  from  the  ordinary  trust  in  God  and  is 
reckoned  as  a  special  gift  of  the  divine  illumination  (hal)* 
In  fact  Muhasibi  who  regarded  this  as  a  central  doctrine 
may,  indeed,  be  set  down  as  the  founder  of  the  Islamic 
Fatalism. 

The  Sufi  doctrine  of  Fatalism  is  by  no  means  logical 
or  consistent.  They  confined  themselves,  however,  to 
matters  of  practical  and  religious  importance  and  avoided 
the  pedantry  which  might  have  hampered  them  in  their 
doctrine  of  predestination1'. 

The  second  most  important  doctrine  of  the  Sufis  is 
allied  to  Christian-Gnostic  doctrine  of  saints.  'Wall', 
saint,  really  a  'friend  of  God7,  is  a  Bufi*  ;  a  conception 
which  the  suft  school  has  imposed  upon  the  entire  Islam. 
And  this,  indeed,  is  to  be  reckoned  its  greatest  visible 
triumph  coming  to  the  front  in  the  4th/10th  century. 
Already  in  Muhasibi  (d.  234/848),  strongly  influenced  by 
Christianity,  the  hierarchy  of  saints  appears  as  the  stages 
of  pious  life5.  And  Tirmidhi  (d.  285/898)  is  said  to  be 
the  person  who  introduced  the  chapter  of  saints  in  sufi 
doctrines.  He  it  was  who  placed  Jesus  before  Mohamad9. 
The  historians  aad  biographers  of  the  4th/10th  century 


(1)  Kashf.  180,  379  ff.     . 

(2)  Kashf,  176. 

(8)  Makki,  7.  (4)  The  earlier  meaning  of  the  word  in  Goldziher 
Muh.  Studien,  II,  286.  (In  the  4th  century  it  was  invariably  used 
in  a  profane  sense  ;  e.g.  Letters  of  Subi  (Leiden,  fol.  2156  ;  219a  : 
220a  ;  226b)  ;  Letters  of  Khwarezrni  (Const,  p  26)  ;  Knshairi  p.  206  : 
"One  was  of  the  awliya  of  es-sulfcan^  the  other  of  the  subjects" 
(Raayyah).  The  former  is  also  called  'Jundi'  (i.e.  of  the  army],  (5) 
Prof.  Margoliouth  Transactions  of  tke  9rd  Congress  of  Religious  History. 
Oxford,  1,292  (6)  !£ashf,  210, 


294  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

know  only  the  Abdal  as  a  special  kind  of  saints1.  Ibn 
Duraid  (d.  321/933)  notes  Abdal,  singular  badil,  a  kind 
of  saints  (Salilnui)  the  world  is  never  without.  There  are 
seventy  of  them— 40  in  tfyria  and  thirty  elsewhere  in  the 
world2.  Hujwiri,  in  the  5th/llth  century,  already  mentions 
a  larger  number  of  the  grades  of  holiness  :  300  called 
Akhyar,  40  called  Abdal,  7  called  Abrar,  four  called 
Awtad,  who  every  night  make  the  circuit  of  the  whole 
world,  three  called  Nuqaba,  and  one  called  Qutb  or 
Ghawth*  who  rules  and  superintends  the  world  with 
his  bands  of  holy  men.  It  is  manifest  that  the  Qutb  is 
the  heir  of  the  Gnostic  Demiurgos.  The  "Desert  of  the 
Israelites"  was  then  the  place  of  audience  of  the  Qutb*  ; 
Ubullah  the  home  of  the  AbdaV. 

Only  the  orthodox  of  the  old  type,  despised  by  the 
Sufis,  as  'Hashawiyyah'  authropomorphists  kept  away 
from  saint-worship.  Thoy  only  recognised  the  Prophets 
as  favoured  of  God.  The  mutazalites,  on  the  contrary, 
denied  that  God  favoured  one  believer  over  the  other 
and  maintained  that  all  muslims  who  obey  God  are 
his  Awliya  (friends)6.  Society  favoured  sainthood  so 
strenuously  that  in  process  of  time  there  were  none 
but  sufi  saints.  The  older  ones  like  Maruf-el-Karkhi  andBisr 
al-Hafi  were  simply  annexed  to  the  circle  of  the  Sufis, 

Hasan  al-Basri  was  placed  at  the  head  of  this  band 
the  very  same  Hasan  to  whom  sufi  doctrines  had  been  an 
abomination.7 

Against  the  Sufi  uniform,  with  which  he  was  after- 
wards credited,  one  of  his  bitterest  sayings  is  reported  : 
He  was  Malik  Ibn  Dinar  with  a  woollen  coat  and  asked  : 


[1]  This  is  the  arabicised  form  of  the  Persian  word  for  'Father'  which 
from  the  Gnostics  to  the  Yezidis  [Pir]  has  been  used  to  signify  the 
spiritual  guide.  Abu  Taubah  [d.241],  who  was  born  at  Damascus  and 
who  lived  at  Tarsus,  is  said  to  have  been  one  of  the  Abdals  > 
(Dhahabi,  Tabaqat  al-huffas  ed.  ^U9tenfeld>  I]C  \&]-  fn  242 
died  Tusi,  one  of  the  Abdals  [Ibid  ,  33].  Apparently  his  idea  is  that 
badil  stands  for  pidar.  In  265  died  Ibrahim  ibn  al-Hani  al-nisaburi 
who  belonged  to  the  circle  of  Abdals  [abul  Fida,  Annales,  Sub  265].  In 
322  died  al-Nassagh)  Ibn  al  Athir  VIII,  222].  and  in  327  Ibn  Abi  Hatim 
[Subki  Tabaqat,  II  237]  Of  a  Spanish  savant  of  the  4th  centary  it  is  said 
''if  any  one  belonged,  at  his  time,  to  the  class  of  Abdal,  it  must  be  he, 
Ibn  Bashkuwal,  1  ,  92.  [2]  Lane,  Sahah,  see  the  word  [3]  Kashf, 
214,  228,  229.  [4]  Kashf,  229.  [5]  Khwarezmi,  Bas'ail,  Const  p.  49 
[6]  Kashf,  213,  215.  [7]  Raudat  enmezirtn.  5.  (8)  Lubb 
Berlin,  fol.  96a. 


RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  295 

Are  you  pleased  with  it  ?  Yes,  said  he.  Well,  before  thee 
a  sheep  had  worn  it'.  During  the  first  two  centuries  of 
their  existence  the  Sufis  counted  many  who  satisfied  the 
two  claims  of  holiness  :  the  efficacy  of  piayer  (niu,jab-ud* 
Do'ah)  and  the  gift  of  Karamat  (suspending  the  laws  of  na- 
ture)2. And  such  were,  indeed,  the  classical  saints  of 
Islam.  Under  the  heading  Baghdad  Qazwini,  for  instance, 
mentions  hesides  Bishr  al-Hafi  only  such  saints  as  had 
lived  about  the  ye3.r  300/912  (cosnwyraphy,  Ed.  Wustenfeld 
215  ff).  The  Tahaqat  es-$iijiyah  of  Sulami  (d.  412/1024) 
are  the  first  lives  of  Saints.  In  reading  Abul  Muhasin 
who  has  used  this  work  we  receive  the  impression  that  the 
saints  only  come  into  existence  (W,  II,  218,  Tarikh-es- 
Bulami)  from  the  3rd/9th  and  abound  in  the  4th/10th 
century  (Yaqut,  IV,  202). 

Manifold  indeed  are  the  miracles  of  saints  :  generally 
efficacy  of  prayer,  wonderful  production  of  food  and  water, 
traversing  of  distances  in  an  incredibly  short  time,  rescue 
from  enemies,  strange  happenings  at  the  death  of  saints, 
hearing  of  voices,  and  other  unnsuil  things.  (Kushairi, 
188,  cf.  Nicholson,  mystics  of  Islam,  pp.  120  sq.)  On  the 
forehead  of  the  dead  Dhun-Nuu  was  found  inscribed  :  This 
is  beloved  of  God,  who  died  in  love  of  God,  slain  by  God''. 
At  his  funeral  the  birds  of  the  air  gathered  above  his  bier 
and  wove  their  wings  together  so  as  to  shadow  it.  When 
Barbeheri  died  in  324/930  his  house  was  full  of  figures 
clad  in  white  and  green  garments  although  the  door  was 
shut''.  The  Egyptian  Bunan  (d.  316/928)  was  thrown  to 
the  lions  by  Ibn  Tulun  but  they  did  him  no  harm5.  A 
Syrian  shaikh,  whom  wild  animals  followed,  was  called 
Bunani  clearly  after  him.  A  miracle-  worker  could  walk  on 
water  at  Qasibin  and  stop  the  current  of  Jaihun.  Another 
brought  forth  jewels  from  the  air.  Bound  a  black  Faqir  at 
Abadan  the  entire  earth  glittered  with  gold.  His  visitors 

(l)  '  Karamat  '  is  the  doing  of  something  in  contravention  of  the 
Laws  of  Nature  hut  without  any  claim  to  prophetship.  I  think  Mez  has 
misunderstood  the  sense  of  Dumb-cl-  Karamat  in  the  passage  quoted 
from  Sabi  (Leiden,  fol.  228)  Says.  Professor  Margoliouth  :  (The  best 
rendering  of  Karamat  \&  "  spontaneous  miracle",  i.e.  one  which  nature 
executes  to  do  honour  to  a  saint,  without  the  saint's  willing  it).  With 
regard  to  the  efficacy  of  prayer  —  a  poet  says  : 

v^,J    JU 


(2)  Ka*lif_,  100.    (3)  Ibn  al-Jazi,  Berlin,  fol.     856;  Alml  Mahasin, 
II  233.  (4)  Abulmahasin,  II,  235,  see  also  II,  37 


296  THE  REfTAlBBkNOE  OF  ISLkM 

ran  away  with  fright.  He  performed  on  his  ass  the  miracle 
of  Balaam.  To  one  in  answer  to  his  prayer  the  river 
Tigris  throws  buck  at  his  feet  the  signet  which  had  fallen 
into  the  water ;  for  the  benefit  of  another  who  seeks  to 
repair  the  roof  of  a  mosque  with  too  short  a  plank  the 
walls  draw  close  enough  to  help  him  in  his  purpose ;  of  yet 
another  the  corpse  laughs  with  the  result  that  no-body 
ventures  to  wash  it.  Another  Sufi,  suffering  a  ship-wreck, 
manages  to  save  himself  and  his  wife  on  a  plank.  The 
wife  gives  birth  to  a  child  and  calls  out  to  her  husband  : 
'thirst  is  killing  me1.  The  husband  devoutly  replies  :  He 
pees  our  plight.  Raising  his  head  he  sees  a  man  in  the 
air  holding  a  gold  chain  in  his  hand  to  which  is  attached 
a  cup  of  red  jacinth.  He  ottered  the  cap  to  them  and  it 
was  more  fragrant  than  musk,  cooler  llian  ice,  sweeter  than 
honey.  At  the  Ka'abah  a  charter  of  absolution  was  flung 
down  from  heaven  to  a  Sufi  absolving  him  from  all  sins, 
past  and  future.  A  sufi  lived  in  a  loft  to  which  were  neither 
stairs  nor  a  ladder-when  ho  wanted  a  wash  he  flew  in  the 
air  like  a  bird.  Like  Abraham  he  also  passed  through  a 
fiery  furnace.  Another  after  the  wedding  felt  himself 
unable  to  cohabit  with  his  wife ;  it  transpired  later  that 
she  was  already  a  married  woman. 

At  the  command  of  the  Egyptian  Dhun-Nun  his  sofa 
moved  round  the  room'.  Another  sufi  changed  the  posi- 
tion of  a  mountain.  For  es-Sari  (Egyptian  founder  of  an 
order)  the  world,  in  the  form  of  an  old  woman,  swept  the 
floor  and  cooked  the  food.  When  a  sufi  died  on  a  boat 
the  water  parted  and  the  boat  went  aground  to  enable  the 
burial  of  the  saint.  The  burial  being  over-they  got  into 
the  boat-water  heaved  up  and  the  waves  rolled  over  the 
grave. 

Already  now  and  then  the  eternally  youthful  Khidr 
makes  his  appearance-the  very  Khidr  who  is  even  to-day 
the  patron  of  the  Dervishes.  According  to  Ibn  Hazm3 
widespread  was  the  belief  among  credulous  sufis  that  Elias 
and  Khidr  were  alive-the  former  having  jurisdiction  over  the 
desert,  the  latter  over  gardens  and  meadows.  The  credulous 
sufis  believed  that  Khidr  appeared  to  those  who  invoked 
his  aid. 

Indeed  the  more  remarkable  the  miracle  the  further 
off  is  its  date  from  the  reporter's  time.  Kushairi  pro- 
fesses to  have  known  only  one,  namely,  that  Daqqaq, 
though  suffering  from  irretention  of  urine,  could  always 

(1)  Nicolson,  mystics  of  Islam,  145.  Tr.     (5)  IV,  180. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM  297 

go  through 'his  lecture  undisturbed.  But  only  after  the 
death  of  the  master  did  this  strike  him  as  something 
extraordinary'. 

The  miracle  of  calling  the  dead  to  life2,  practised  by 
contemporary  Christian  miracle- workers,  is  not  found  in 
the  Islam  of  that  age.  The  only  thing  of  the  sort  that 
we  do  find  is  the  calling  of  dead  animals  to  life3.  The 
interest  in  miracles  was  mainly  confined  to  the  sufi  com- 
munity, but  even  the  cultured  among  them  set  no  store 
on  them  as  compared  with  the  wonderful  powers  of  the 
spiritual  life.  When  it  was  reported  to  Murta'is  (d.  328/940) 
that  so  and  so  walked  on  the  water,  he  said  :  I  consider 
it  much  grander  if  God  granted  one  strength  to  resist  one's 
passion  than  the  power  to  walk  over  the  water*.  A  sufi 
related  'I  was  thinking  of  a  miracle  when  I  took  a  fishing 
rod  from  a  boy,  stood  between  two  boats  and  said  ;  By 
thy  omnipotence  if  a  fish,  three  pound  in  weight,  does  not 
come  out  now,  I  shall  drown  myself ;  and  verily,  a  three 
pound  fish  did  come  out.  When  Junaid,  the  Chief  of  the 
school,  heard  this,  he  said  :  an  other  should  have  coiue  out 
of  the  water  and  bitten  him5.  The  sufi  saint  Bistanii  who 
died  in  261/874  said  on  hearing  that  a  miracle -worker  did 
the  journey  to  Mekka  in  one  night :  The  Devil  goes  from 
sunrise  to  sunset  (i.e.  from  East  to  West)  in  an  hour  under 
the  curse  of  God5.  When  he  heard  that  some  one  walked 
on  the  water  and  Hew  in  the  air  he  said  :  the  birds  fly  in 
the  air  and  the  fish  swim  in  water.  Tuatari  (d.  273/886) 
disbelieved  in  miracles  but,  as  fate  would  have  it,  he  is 
himself  credited  with  them.  He  declared  that  the  greatest 
miracle  is  to  alter  an  ugly  trait  in  one's  character7.  One 
day  a  man  said  to  him  :  you  walk  on  the  water.  He 
replied  :  ask  the  Muezzin  of  the  quarter.  He  is  God — 
fearing  and  will  not  lie.  The  questioner  turned  to  the 
Muezzin  vvho  stated  :  That  I  do  not  know,  but  only  that 
today  he  went  to  the  pond  "to  wash  himself  and  fell  in  the- 
water  and  had  it  not  been  for  me,  he  would  have  been 
drowned8. 

Indeed  a  large  section  of  the  sufi  thinkers  contend  that 
saints  should  not  be  credited  with  supernatural  powers  and 
that  therein  lies  the  fundamental  difference  between  them 


[1]  Kushairi,  203;  [2]  E.  G.  Michael  Syrus,  260  ff.  [3]  Kush,  205. 
[4]  Kushairi,  30.  [6]  Kushairi,  193.  [6]  Kushairi,  193.  [7]  Kush,  193. 
[8]  Kush  203. 


298  THE  ItENAttiSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

and  the  prophets  who  are  endowed  with  such  a  gilt,  the 
gift  of  Mujezah  i.e.  of  working  miracles7.  Even  on  the 
question  whether  a  saint  should  consider  himself  as  such 
there  was  a  divergence  of  opinion".  Sari,  the  father  of 
sufiism,  is  said  to  have  felt  great  doubt  on  this  score. 
If  one  were  to  come  to  a  garden  where  were  many  trees 
and  on  every  one  of  them  many  birds  and  were  these  birds 
to  call  out  to  him,  in  clear  language:  'Peace  be  on  thee, 
0 !  Saint  of  God'  and  he  feared  no  deception-even  in  such 
a  case  veriJy  there  wan  a  possibility  of  deception'3.  We 
have  clear  proof  from  Literature  that  saint-worship,  after 
all,  is  merely  the  affair  of  Sufis  and  lower  order. 

No  geographer  of  the  4th/10th  century  speaks  of  a 
single  saint,  no  great  poet  either. 

Finally  sufiiem  developed  a  doctrine  of  incalculable 
religious  force  and  vitality  ;  a  doctrine  which  satisfied  the 
need  for  reverence,  a  need  wich  existed  long-before  Islam. 
It  raised  Mohammed  into  a  supernatural  Being,  almost  into 
a  divinity.  The  earliest  tradition  was  extremely  modest 
and  circumspect.  By  the  dead-body  of  his  friend  and 
teacher  Abu  Bal<r  is  reported  to  have  said  in  his  prayer  : 
God  will  not  inflict  upon  you  two  deaths.  You  have  gone 
through  the  one  death  which  was  appointed  for  you''. 

Already  Hallaj,  for  whom  Jesus  was  still  theidealfigure, 
inserts  in  the  first  chapter  of  the  Kitab  at-Tawa&in  a 
rhapsodic  hymn  on  the  Prophet :  All  lights  of  the  Prophets — 
this  too  is  a  gnostic  figure-come  from  his  light.  He  was 
before  all — his  name  anticipated  the  pen  of  destiny  he — was 
known  before  all  history  and  all  being  and  will  endure 
after  everything  has  ceased.  Above  and  below  him  lighten 
cloudn,  flaming,  pouring,  fructifying  (the  world).  All 
learning  in  but  a  drop  from  his  ocean,  all  wisdom  a  handful 
from  his  rivulet;  all  times  are  but  an  hour  from  his  life5. 

With  these  three  central  doctrines  :  the  so-called  fata- 
lism, the  worship  of  saints  and  of  the  Prophet,  Sufiism  has 
set  its  abiding  impress  on  Islam. 

But  sufiism  did  not  offer  certainty  of  salvation  nor  yet 
did  it  allay  the  uncertainty  of  our  lot  after  death. 


(1)  A  further  difference    between  the  prophet  and  the  saint  is  that 
whereas  the  latter  is  regarded  as  incapahle    of  sinning  the  former  is  not 
Kaahf ,  25.  (See   Burton,   Pilgrimage  (memorial  Ed(  Vol  ]  ,340  note  2  Tr.) 
(2)  Kush.  187.  (3)  Knshairi,  189.  (4)  Btikhari  (Bah  til-Jnna'iz).  (5)  Massig- 
non,  10  IT.  The  doctrine  of  Pre-existence  is  likewise  of  gnostic  origin. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  209 

When  Makki,  a  very  pious  man  and  author  of  a  text- 
book on  sufiism,  lay  dying  in  386/996  he  spoke  to  one  of 
his  disciples  :  should  you  fiind  out  that  I  am  saved,  strew 
sugar  and  almonds  on  my  corpse  when  borne  to  tfre  grave 
saying:  this  is  for  the  wise.  I  asked  him,  says  the  pupil, 
how  should  I  ascertain  that  ?  Give  your  hand  to  me  when 
I  die.  If  I  clasp  it-know  that  God  has  saved  me.  But 
if  I  let  it  go  know  then  that  my  end  has  not  been  happy. 
And  so  I  sat  by  him  and  he  seized  my  hand  firmly  as  he 
died.  I  strewed  sugar  and  almonds  on  the  bier  as  it  was 
borne  along  saying:  This  is  for  the  wise'.  The  very  same 
story  is  related  of  Mawardi  (d.  450/1058).  He  had  not- 
published  any  of  his  writings  but  when  he  was  nearing 
death  he  said  :  my  writings  are  all  before  me  hero  and 
there.  I  had  not  published  them  because  I  felt  no  real 
satisfaction  with  them.  When  death  is  upon  me  and  I 
lie  unconscious,  put  your  hand  in  mine,  if  I  seize  and 
press  it,  take  the  books  and  throw  them  into  the  Tigris 
but  should  I  stretch  my  hand  out  and  do  not  clanp  yours, 
know  that  the  books  have  found  favour  with  the  Almighty. 
And  the  latter  happened.2 

It  is  touching  to  note  how  at  the  end  of  many  strange 
biographies — the  dead  saint  appears  to  a  fiiend  or  a  dis- 
ciple in  a  dream,  clad  in  the  livery  of  the  blessed  and  how 
he  is  anxiously  questioned  as  to  the  way  in  which  he 
found  grace.  The  only  sacrament  in  Islam — the  only  sure 
road  to  paradise  is  death  in  a  holy  war  against  the  infidels. 
The  Emperor  Nicephorus,  the  greatest  opponent  of  Islam  in 
the  4th/lCth  century,  realized  the  military  import  of  this 
doctrine.  He,  likewise,  wanted  to  declare  as  martyrs  all 
who  fell  in  war  against  the  infidels.  But  the  church, 
offended  with  him  for  financial  reasons,  declined  to  be  a 
party  to  it'5.  In  other  forms  the  sufi  movement  trans- 
gressed the  legitimate  bounds  of  Islamic  teachings.  These 
forms  constitute  the  un-European  and  specifically  Oriental 
side-track.  Their  authors  were  not  satisfied  with  deifying 
the  emotions,  they  wished  to  do  the  like  for  the  will,  and 
consistently  claim  the  divine  omnipotence  for  this  divine 
will4.  This  gravely  menaced  the  peace  of  the  empire  and 
explains  the  rise  of  the  numerous  heresies  about  300/912. 
In  309/921  Hallaj,  the  wool-carder,  was  cruelly  executed 


(1)  Ibn  Janzi,  Berlin  fol.    139  b.    (2)  Stibki,  III,  804.  (  3)  Krumba 
cher,  Qesch.    der  bye.     Lit.    2,  985. 


(4)     (The  sense  is  far  from  clear,  but  J  fancy  this   jnust   b$  what  is 
meant)  (Prof.    Mairgolioqth 


300  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

at  Baghdad/.  He  had  heard  the  discourses  of  many  sufis, 
Junaid  among  them.  Beruni  calls  him  a  sufi*.  According  to 
the  Fihrist  he  gave  himself  out  to  the  authorities  as  a  shiite 
and  to  trtie  common-folk  as  a  sufi3.  He  is  reported  to  have 
prayed  400  Eiqas  a  day*.  Sixty-six  years  after  his  death 
the  Jfihrist  registers  47  books  by  him5.  One  of  these  has 
been  edited  and  commented  upon  by  Massignon. 

With  an  amazing  skill  which  bears  the  stamp  of  the 
old  gnostic  tradition  he  lays  bare  the  subtlest  processes 
of  his  mind  and  the  powerful  results  of  his  pantheistic 
inspirations.  It  often  reminds  us  of  the  most  beautiful 
passages  in  the  gnostic  hymns.  Even  the  method  of  Hallaj 
is  positively  that  of  the  Mutazilah.  He  has  taken  over 
from  them  the  idea  of  God,  stripped  of  all  human  and 
fortuitous  elements.  He  has  borrowed  from  them  too  the 
term  'Haq',  'Being1,  to  indicate  this  critically  purified  con- 
ception. But  when  two  different  aspects  are  distinguished 
in  God — human  and  divine,  nasut  and  Lalmt,  two  foreign 
words  drawn  from  the  Syrian  treatises  regarding  the  nature 
of  Christ — when  God  in  human  form  is  made  to  judge 
on  the  day  of  Judgment — when  God  is  conceived  of  as 
projecting  himself  as  man  before  all  creation — the  original 
man,  the  Greek  :  Proon  anthropos  of  the  Gnostics6-when 
he  distinctly  appears  as  eating  and  drinking  until  His 
existence  becomes  a  palpable  reality7  we  find  ourselves  in 
the  curious  old  world  of  the  Christian  gnosis  which,  in  its 
turn,  was  simply  a  pale  reflection  of  the  ancient  myth. 
The  analogy  extends  to  the  minutest  detail.  According  to 
Basilides  of  Irenaeus  "  from  the  father  proceeds  the  Logos, 
then  Wisdom  XPhronesis),  then  power  (Dynamis),  then 
knowledge  (Sophia)8.  In  the  Tawasin*  Hallaj  draws  four 
circles  round  God  which  no  one  can  investigate  :  1.  His 
will  (mashiah);  2.  His  Wisdom  (Hikmah);  3.  His  power 


(1)  On  Hallaj,  see  scbreiner,  ZDMG  54,468  ff  and  de  Goeje; 
Arib,  86  ff.  and  above  all  Kit.  al-Tawasin  by  Hallaj  (Paris  1913)  and 
Ana  al-Haqq  in  Islam,  III,  248  (for  further  information  see  Nicholson, 
mystics  of  Islam,  Ch  VI  and  Lamens,  Islam  Ch  VI  Tr.  (2)  Chronology, 
194.  (3)  p.  190  (4)  Kashf,  303.  (5)  192  Bernni,  India,  tr.  125,mehtions 
a  'Book  of  the  concentration  of  the  greatest  and  a  "  Book  of  the 
concentration  of  the  smallest".  This  is  interesting  on  account  of  the 
terminology.  The  Kit.  es-Saiher  fiaqs  edduhur  has  evidently  drawn 
upon  the  work  of  Sulami  ^d.  412/1021).  "  It  was  a  small  square  volume 
containing  the  poema  of  Hallaj.  Subki  III,  61.  (6)  Hilgenfeld, 
Ketxergeschichte,  294. 

(7)    Massignon  (8)  Hilgenfeld.  199.    (9)  ed  M**si$non,  56, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  301 

(kudrat).  4.  His  knowledge  (Malumah)  i.e.  his  revela- 
tions. This  pictorial  method  of  instruction  by  circles  which 
Celsus  found  among  the  gnostics  is  also  to  be  found  in  the 
only  extant  book  of  Hallaj.  As  is  wellknown,  we  find  the 
samething  in  the  Books  of  the  Druses.  The  understand- 
ing (Synesis)  is  represented  there  as  a  "  Rhomoboid  "'  and 
in  the  Kit.  al-tawasin  as  a  rectangle". 

At  a  house-search  Hallaf s  books  were  found  :  Some 
were  written  on  Chinese  paper  and  others  with  the  tincture 
of  gold,  and  were  lined  with  silk  and  brocade  and  bound  in 
costly  leather/1  The  sacred  Books  of  the  Manichreous 
were  also  beautifully  got  up/,.  This  too,  was  a  gnostic 
practice.  Even  the  gnostic  stages  of  common  (?)  purifica- 
tion are  there  with  special  reference  to  Jesus  as  the  highest 
ideal.  "He  gave  himself  up  to  a  life  of  piety  and  rose 
from  stage  to  stage.  He  believed  that  he,  who  purified  his 
body  through  obedience,  occupied  himself  with  good  works 
refrained  from  all  lust,  would  ascend  higher  and  higher  in 
the  scale  of  purity  until  his  nature  is  rid  of  all  things  carnal. 
And  when  nothing  carnal  is  left  th.e  spirit  of  God,  from 
whom  Jesus  came,  would  settle  in  him  making  all  his 
acts  and  behests  the  acts  and  behests  of  God.  "Thus  does  a 
latter  contemporary  describe  the  teachings  of  Hallaj  who, 
according  to  him  had  attained  that  rank5. 

Hallaj  himself  sings  : 

Thy    spirit   is   mingled   in   my   spirit    even  as  wme  is 

mingled  wifch  pure  water". 
And  again : 

"  I  am  He  whom  I  love,  and  He  whom  I  love  is  T  : 
We  are  two  spirits  dwelling  in  one  body — 

If  thou  seest  me,  thou  seest  him, 
And  if  thou  seest  him,  thou  seest  me  " 

In  rare  and  beautiful  figures  he  describes  the  idea  of 
deification  : 

The  butterfly  flies  in  to  the  Light  and,  by  its  extinc- 
tion becomes  the  very  flame  itself7. 


(1)     Hil-genfeld,  278.    (2)  p.  31  (3)  Arib.  90,    according  to    misk. 

(4)  Ibn  alJauzi,  59  a  (KhudaBuksh,  Islamic  Civilization,  Vol.  I,  104  Tr.] 

^  (5)     Istakhri,  de  Goeje,  184  ff.    (6)  Masngnon  134,  In  the  Tawasin 

curiously  this  idea  is  not  to  be  found.     The    idea   in    Tawasin  developed 

on  different  lines.    (See  Nicholson,  mystics  of  Islam,  p.  151,  Tr.) 

(7)    Massignon,  17, 


302  THE  BENA18$kNCE  OF  ISLAJf 

Thou   art    with    me  between  my  heart  and  the  ilesh 
of  my  heart  ; 

Thou  flowest  like  tearrf  from  my  eye-lids'. 

Suli,  who  constantly  speaks  of  Hallaj,  refers  to  him  as 
an  unlettered  man,  who  simulated  wisdom.  But,  indeed, 
he  secured  disciples  in  the  highest  circles";  even  the  house- 
hold of  a  Prince  and  specially  the  powerful  court-marshal 
Nasir  were  suspected  of  leanings  towards  him.  Indeed  a 
Qadi  appointed  by  the  Caliph  refused  to  condemn  him. 
For  eight  years  he  lived  in  mild  custody  at  the  Caliph's 
Palace  and  the  general  impression  is  that  his  death  was 
due  solely  to  palace  intrigues.  Most  of  the  reports  regard- 
ing him  come  from  hostile  sources.  But  this  much  is 
clear  that  in  the  higher  circles  of  Baghdad  Hallaj  exercised 
a  potent  spell.  A  further  proof  of  this  is  to  be  found  in 
the  fact  that  both  Jau^i  and  Dhahabi  wrote  his  biography. 
Though  neither  of  these  wrorks  have  come  down  to  us  ;  yet 
the  honour  of  a  special  biography  has  not  fallen  to  the 
lot  of  many  men  in  Islam. 

Powerful,  indeed,  was  the  influence  of  Hallaj  on  Sufi 
theology.  Despite  martyrdom,  many  of  his  disciples 
carried  on  his  teachings  ;  notably  the  sect  of  salimayyah. 
In  the  5th/llth  century  Hujwiri  saw  4,000  men  in  Mesopo- 
tamea  \vho  called  themselves  the  flowers  of  Hallaj5.  And 
the  very  ^ame  Hujwiri  testifies  that  Hallaj  was  dear  to 
him  and  that  there  wrere  but  few  Sufi  shaikhs  who  could 
deny  the  purity  of  his  soul  or  the  severity  of  his  asceticism''. 
And,  indeed,  at  the  time  of  Abul  Ala  (d.  449/1057)  there 
were  people  at  Baghdad  wrho  expected  him  to  rise  again 
and  stand  upon  the  shore  of  the  Tigris  where  he  was 
crucified5. 

Christian  speculation  stands  at  the  background  even 
of  the  other  heresies  of  the  time.  The  so  called  Kisf 
(Mansur  at  Ijli  who  was  regarded  by  some  as  a  Prophet) 
taught  in  Kufa  that  God  created  Jesus  first  and  after  him 
All .  Aud  Shalmaghani,  belonging  to  a  mesopotamian 
village  in  Wasit,  professing  himself  to  be  the  bearer  of  the 


(1)  Massignon,  133  (2)  According  to  Istakri(p.  149)  specially 
in  Babylon,  Mesopotamia,  media.  According  to  Ibn  Hankal  he  began 
as  a  Fatimid  emissary. 

(3;    Kashj,  260.    (4)  Ibid,   155  f.    (6;  JBAS    1902,   347  (6)  Ibn 
Easm  IV,    186  (Goldsiher,   Muht    and  Islam,  p.  171  Trt) 


RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  308 

divine  spirit  taught  likewise5.  At  the  instance  of  the 
Wazir  Ibn  Muqlah,  he,  along  with  two  disciples,  was  put 
upon  his  trial.  To  prove  their  innocence  they  were  bidden 
to  strike  their  God  :  one  actually  dealt  a  blow  but  the  hand 
of  the  other  shook  while  trying  to  strike  him.  The  latter 
then  kissed  the  head  and  beard  of  Shalmaghani  with  the 
words  :  My  master.  Thereupon  the  master  and  the  pupil 
were  placed  on  the  pillory,  scourged  and  burnt.  Shalma- 
ghani  taught  that  God  resided  in  everything  according  to  its 
capacity  and  that  He  has  created  for  everything  its  opposite 
for  instance  with  Adam  He  created  lllis  and  He  dwelt  in 
them  both.  The  opposite  of  Abraham  was  Nimrod;  of 
Aaron,  Pharoah  ;  of  David,  Goliath.  That  the  opposite  of 
everything  stands  nearest  to  it ;  as  for  instance,  the 
opposite  of  truth  exists  to  point  the  way  to  the  truth  itself2 
Masudi  regards  him  as  a  Shiah*  but  though  lie  accepts 
Ali  as  his  precursor  in  the  incarnation  of  divinity  he  refuses 
to  believe  in  Hasan  and  Husain  as  his  sons,  for  God  can 
neither  have  a  father  nor  a  son.  The  last  precursor  of  Ali- 
so  he  taught-who  united  in  himself  the  human  and  divine 
nature  in  Adam  was  Jesus  ;  whereas  Moses  and  Mohamed 
were  referred  to  by  him  as  deceivers  \\1io  had  overreached 
their  senders  and  Ali. 

Tho  obvious  moaning  of  the  Quranic  Laws  was  sym- 
bolically interpreted  :  Paradise  became  DIP.- recognition  of 
the  truth  and  the  acceptance  of  their  sect;  Holl,  ignorance 
of  their  teaching  and  aloofness  from  their  community.  His 
followers  gave  up  prayer,  fast,  ablution.  They  were  charged 
with  immorality  and  credited  with  community  of  wives. 
They  even  considered  the  love  of  hoys  ns  indispensable  for 
through  it  they  pretended  to  illuminate  the  loved-one  by 
their  own  light*.  This  sect  was,  by  no  means,  a  sect  of 
common-folk.  Its  founder  was  a  clerk,  who  at  Baghdad 
stood  high  in  the  esteem  of  Tbn  al-Furat  vind  had  held  all 
kinds  of  offices.  Tho  disciple,  who  died  with  him,  was^ 
Ibrahim  Ibn  Abaun,  poet,  author,  high  placed  official,  and" 
the  Wazir  of  the  \\Wir-fanrily  of  Banu  Wahb  is  paid  to 
have  believed  in  the  divinity  of  this  man''. 


(I)  The  Literature  on  the  subject  is  iti  schreiner.  47'J.  It  is  wanting 
in  Ibn  Hankal  and  is  only  to  be  found  in  Yaqnt's  Irduul,  296  ( which 
was  edited  later),  where  Yaqnt  gives  an  extract  from  "i  letter  of  the 
Caliph  Badhi  to  the  Sainanid  Nasr  Tbri  Ahmad  regarding  the  legal 
proceedings  against  Shalma&nani,  Yaqnt  had  come  across  the  letter  at 
.Merv.  (2)  Yaqnt,  lr*had,  1,  302.  (8)  Tanbih  897.  (4)  This  is  affirmed 
by  Kashf,  416  The  JJahdiyan  i.  e  the  adherents  of  incarnation  have 
made  the  love  of  hoys  (?)  a  stigma  on  the  saints  of  God  and  tho 
to  snfiism.  (5)  Kit  al-Uvun.  IV,  184  b. 


304  THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

Of  a  wholly  different  kind  were  the  movements  ins- 
pired by  the  idea  of  the  Mahdi.  The  persons  with  whom 
we  have  been  dealing  were  individual  seekers  after  God 
who  followed  the  lead  of  the  old  theology,  The  most 
amazing  thing  about  them  was  that  they  found  response 
for  their  strange  preachings.  But  mahadisin  from  the 
commencement  had  been  political  in  its  essence.  It 
appealed  to  the  masses  and  thus  had  very  different  success. 
Already  about  the  middle  of  the  3rd/9th  century  Hamdan 
Qarmat'  had  collected  together  the  turbulent  elements  of 
Mesopotamia'  but  all  their  risings  were  suppressed  by  the 
Caliph  ai-  Mutadid". 

But  it  was  only  when  the  propaganda  tirmed  to  Arabia 
that  it  rone  to  real  political  importance.  There  was  the 
centre  of  the  rebels  of  all  shades  of  opinion,  eager  to  follow 
a  leader,  plundering  and  murdering,  into  rich  agricultural 
estates.  On  account  of  tho  Qarmatians  the  competent 
Caliph  al-Mutadid  died  in  210/901  of  a  broken  heart'7. 
They  possessed  two  brilliant  generals  who  knew  how  to 
organise  the  wild  forces  of  Arabia  and  to  guide  them  to 
greatest  expedition  which  the  Peninsula  had  witnessed 
since  Islam.  About  the  beginning  of  the  3rd/9th  century 
Syria  was  ruthlessly  devastated.  And  again  about  the 
beginning  of  the  4th/lUth  century  Mesopotamia  suffered 
from  their  attacks  ;  Basra  and  Kufa  ware  conquered  and 
plundered;  Baghdad  reeled  with  paralysing  fear  and  the 
connection  between  Mekka  and  the  East  was  interrupted. 

From  the  Syrian  deserts  in  316/928  flowel  the  Qar- 
matians' predatory  raids  right  up  to  the  mountain  chains 
of  Sin  jar*.  In  317/9*29  they  let  in  unmolested  the  pilgrim 
caravan  to  the  Holy  City  but,  then,  with  an  incredibly 
small  band  of  600  cavalry  and  900  infantry,  stormed  the 
city,  entered  the  Ka'aba  slaughtered  all,  rifled  the  treasures 
of  the  temple  and  made  away  even  with  the  Black  stone. 
Only  the  nomadic  Beduins  resisted  the  invaders,  the 
town-folk  of  Mekka  riotously  revelled  in  the  plunder  of 
their  own  sanctuary.  Contrary  to  our  expectation  this 
event  made  little  impression  on  that  age.  Only  the 
latter  ages  viewed  it  with  intense  horror;  the  religious 
indifference  being  then  much  too  pronounced  to  assume 

(1)  Kit  al-Uyun,  IV.  184  b.  (2)  Of  the  numerous  etymologies  of 
this  name  I  consider  the  conjecture  of  Vollers,  coupling  it  with  Qreek 
Grammata  [letters]  to  be  the  most  probable  because  it  finds  support  in 
the  Mesopotamian  Jargon  of  the  4th/10th  century.  In  the  poem  of  Abu 
Dulaf  (Yat.  IV,  184  a  Qarmat  appears  as  a  "  writter  of  amulet. 
(3)  Maqrizi,  Rtiag,  ed,  Bunz,  III.  (4)  Jbn  al-Athir,  VIII,  188 ;  Arib,  134. 


TBE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  305 

pious,    gathering  round    the    aspiring  Sufiism,  set    before 
them  something  higher  as  an  ideal  than  the  Black  Stone. 
And    even  the    strictly  orthodox  did  not  feel  quite  at  ease 
in   their  respect  for  that    stone.    The  plunder  of  Mekka 
marks  the    highest    point    of    the    Qarmatian    rebellion. 
Further  predatory  incursions  to  the  East,  as  far  as  the 
interior  of    Persia,    followed.    The    desert    had    become 
almost   impassable  and  more  than  once,  for  fear  of    them, 
the  Bazars    of  Baghdad    were  closed  down.    The    diplo- 
macy of  the  Court,  however,  tried  to  counteract  the  danger. 
Qarmatian  troops   were    admitted  into  the  army  of   the 
Caliph  and  in  327/938  the  rebels   concluded  a  treaty  with 
the  Government  to  let    the  Pilgrim-caravan    through    as 
against    the  payment   of  a  fixed  sum  for    every  litter  and 
e^ery    camel-load.    In    339/950    the    Black  Stone     was 
restored  to  Mekka.     A  lean  camel  could  now  carry  it  and 
even   become  fat  in  doing  so — whereas  12  years  ago   three 
strong  camels  broke   down  under  its  weight.     The  ill-luck 
of    the   Black  Stone  does  not  end  here.     In  413/1022  an 
Egyptian — suspected  of  being  a  partisan  of  Hakim — smashed 
it    with  a   club.     The    culprit   was   killed  and    the    stone 
patched    up  with    musk    and    gum1.    By  the    invasion  of 
Egypt    and    Syria    the  Qarmatians  helped  on  the  onward 
march   of  the  Fatimids   but  in  358/968  they  finally,  con- 
cluded peace    with  the  Caliph  of  Baghdad  for  whom  prayer 
was  now  offered  from  all  their  pulpits;  the  Caliph  supplying 
them  with  money  and  arms2, 

As  at  the  outset  of  their  career,  Syria  once  again 
becomes  the  goal  of  their  invasion  but  the  enemy  now  is 
their  old  ally,  the  Fatimid.  Wherever  they  succeeded,  they 
unfurled  the  black  flag  of  the  Abbasids*.  Their  advance 
was,  however,  checked  and  they  returned  to  Arabia  on 
payment  of  an  annuity.  Some  years  later  they  were  finally 
expelled  from  Mesopotamia  by  the  Buwahids.  At  the 
end  of  the  century  they  formed  only  a.  small  state  on  the 
East  Coast  of  Arabia  which  gave  no  serious  trouble  to  the 
Mekkan  pilgrims  but  merely  kept  its  customs  house  at  the 
gate  of  Al-Basra  where  imposts  were  levied*.  As  late  as 
443  when  the  Persian  Nasir  Khusru  visited  their  capital, 
Lahsa,  he  found  in  front  of  the  grave  of  the  founder  of 
this  Qarmatian  State,  a  saddled-horse  in  readiness,  day  and 
night,  to  enable  the  founder  to  mount  it  immediately  on 

(1)  Jauzi,  170  b. 

(2)  Sabi,  in  Qalanisi,  ed.  Amedroz,  p.  11. 

(3)  Maqrizi,  Ittiaz,  133. 

(4)  Muk,  p  133  [Bug.  tr.  p.  217]. 


306  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

his  return  to  life*.  Travellers  reported  to  Abul  Ala  that 
there  were  quite  a  number  of  people  in  Yaman — each  of 
whom  regarded  himself  as  the  expected  mahdi  and,  as  such, 
found  people  to  pay  tribute  to  them.  It  is  impossible  to 
assess  how  much  faith  or  how  much  love  of  booty  entered 
into  their  minds.  Nor  are  we  in  a  position  to  judge  the 
precise  proportion  of  sincere  religious  spirit  in  this  move- 
ment. It  is,  however,  to  be  noted  that  Yaman  has  always 
been  famous  for  its  highly-strung  spiritualism.  "It  has 
always  been  a  refuge  for  the  most  daring  views  and  a  mine 
for  those  who  traded  with  religion  or  sought  sordid  gain 
by  hypocrisy  *". 

The  Mahdism  of  the  Qarmatians  was  by  no  means  good 
Islam ;  the  Christian-gnostic  doctrine  of  the  incarnation 
being  always  there  in  the  background.  "  One  sect  teaches 
the  divinity  of  Muhammad  ibn  Ismail  ibn  Jafar  and  these 
are  the  Qarmatians.  Among  them  are  those  who  teach 
the  divinity  of  Abu  Said  el-Jubbai  and  his^Sons;  others 
teach  the  divinity  of  Ubaidullah  and  his  successors  up 
to  the  present  day ;  others  teach  the  divinity  of  Abul 
Khattab  ibn  Abi  Zainab  in  Kufa  whose  supporters  exceed 
one  thousand  there.  Another  section  teaches  the  divinity 
of  the  wheat-dealer  ma'mar  in  Kufa,  a  follower  of  Abul 
Khattab,  and  actually  worships  him.  May  God  curse  them 
all"3.  At  least  according  to  Beruni''  even  tbe  Qarmatian 
mahdi  the  Zakariyya  claimed  to  be  Grod.  Like  the  black 
Alps  behind  the  green  Jura  those  tower  behind  the 
Qarmatian  their  age-long  masters  the  Fatimid  who  exploited 
the  idea  of  the  mahdi  with  a  force  and  success  which 
never  fell  to  its  lot  again.  This  back-swell  of  Arabism  to 
the  west,  the  entry  of  the  Caliph  into  Cairo  with  the  coffins 
of  his  ancestors,  is  the  most  romantic  phenomenon  of 
this  stirring  age.  It  is  indeed  as  the  Caliph  puts  it  •' 
"the  sun  rose  where  it  generally  sets"5.  ]ts  progress  is 
the  most  striking  incident  in  the  politics  of  the4tb/10th 
century.  Some  100  j^ears  after  the  appearance  of 
their  first  mahdi,  their  rule,  about  the  year  360/970, 
extended  over  the  whole  of  North  Africa  and  Syria  up 
to  the  Euphrates  and  "their  mission  filled  every 
valley  "fi.  In  362/972  the  Caliph  Muiz  thus  wrote  to  the 

[1]    Muk    Trans,  p.    228  This  was  related  to  Abul  Ala  also  JfiAS. 
1902,  829. 

[2]  Abul  Ala  el-ma  arri, 

[3]    Ibn  Hazin,    IV,    187.  cf.    de  Geoge    in  Arib,  p.  Ill    ncte  3, 
[4]  p.   196  [5]  Maqrizi,    Ittiaz,    UL     (6)    Fihrist,  189. 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  307 

Qarmatian  leader  :  "  There  should  be  no  Island  or  climate 
on   the  earth   without  our  teachers  and    missionaries   to 
promulgate  our  doctrines  in  every  tongue"*.     The  Qarma- 
tians  obeyed  his  orders.     Baluchistan,   atleast  by   payment 
of  gold,  acknowledged  the  suzerainty  of  the  ruler  at   Cairo8, 
And   when   the  poet   Hamadhani  went,  in  the  80's  of  the 
4/10th  century,  to  Jurjan,  up   high  in  the  north,  always 
understanding  where  the  greatest  power  and  wealth  were 
to  be  found,  he  attached  himself  to  the   Ismailites   (Yaqut, 
Irshad,  1,  96).     Spiritually  they  had  nothing  new   to  give 
but  it  is  the  spirit  and  not  the  number  of  the  soldiery   that 
makes  for  lasting  power.     Only  20  years  after  its   meridian 
splendour  the  propaganda  ceases  :   "  There  are  but    few 
missionaries  and  I  see  no  books  written  for  their  guidance. 
Such   at  least  is   the  case  in    Mesopotamia,     possibly  in 
Persia  and  Khorasan  things  remain   unaltered.     In  Egypt, 
however,  things  are  very  doubtful,  the  present  ruler  proves 
nothing   that   is   related  of  him   and   his  father  gives  no 
evidence  by  his  own  conduct9.     We  know  but  little  of  the 
Ismailite  doctrines    in   the  4th/10th   century.     Our  chief 
source  of  information,  dating  from  this  period,  is  the  report 
of  Akhu  Muhsin,  preserved  by  Nuwairi   and   Maqrizi  and 
translated  by  de   Sacy  (Expose   de  la  religion  des  Druzes, 
LXXIV  ff).    But  it  is  tainted  at  its  source  for  it  is  drawn 
from  the  polemics  of  Ibn  Rezzam  against   this   sect  which 
both   the   Fihrist   (p.  186)  and   Maqrizi  designate   as   "a 
compound  of  truth  and  fiction".    The  fragments  edited  by 
Guyard  give  no  idea  as  to  their  date.    Old  names  prove 
nothing  for  in  all   these  circles  literary  forgeries  were  the 
order  of  the  day.    Even  in  the  4th/10th  century  most  of 
the  writings  ascribed  to  the  oldest  Ismailite   Shaikhs  were 
pure  forgeries4.     But   the  main   thing,  indeed,    which  we 
learn  from    Shahrastani  is  that  there  is  a  great  difference 
between   the   Ismailites  of  the  4th/10th  century  and  those 
of  the  later  5th/llth   centujry  and   that   we  should  keep 
severely  apart  the  catechism  of  the  Caliph  Muiz  from  that 
of  the  old  man  of  the  mountain. 

Unfortunately  Ibn  Hazm  is  absolutely  reticent  on  the 
Ismailites.  He  only  tells  us  that  they  and  the  Qarmatians 
have  notoriously  fallen  away  from  Islam  and  teach  pure 

(T)  Maqrizi,  Ftiaz,  Eai  was  the  residence  of  the  Governor  of  Mahdi 
in  the  East.  Even  the  Mesopotamian  recruiting  agents  werejinder  him  such 
as  the  Banu  Hatnmad  at  Mosul,  Fihrist,  189  (2)  Ibn  Haufcal,  221. 

(3)    Fihrist,  189.    (4)    Fihrist,  187,  11. 


308  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

JJoroastranism'.  Abul  Ala  says  also  very  little  about 
them.  In  his  Resalat  el-@ufranv?e  seek  in  vain  for  informa- 
tion on  the  Ismailites.  Possibly  their  proximity  enjoined 
silence.  Thus  for  authentic  information  we  have  to  fall 
back  on  the  Fihrist.  They  had  seven  grades  of  develop- 
ment as  against  nine  of  Akhu  Muhsin— the  instruction 
regarding  each  grade  contained  in  a  book.  The  first  two 
grades  could  be  completed  in  a  year;  annual  then,  was  the 
progress  up  to  the  sixth.  It  is  not  stated  when  tie  last 
grade  could  be  reached.  Ibn  Nadim  claims  to  have  read  the 
Book  of  the  seventh  grade  and  found  in  it  things,  terribly 
immoral  and  in  violation  of  the  orthodox  teaching8  This 
sect,  even  then,  had  recourse  to  allegorical  interpretation 
(ta'wil).  A  rich  Qarmatian  took  away  the  pension  from 
Balkhi  (d.  322/933)  for  writing  his  "Examination  of  the 
allegorical  method"3.  Thus  the  conception  of  Eeligion  as 
the  Rational  knowledge  of  God;  the  gradation  according 
to  the  stage  of  knowledge  ;  in  later  authorities  the  elabora- 
tely worked-out  Dualism  and  parallelism  of  the  world-all, 
once  again,  point  to  the  old  gnosis. 

Even  the  Fihrist''  has  reproached  the  Fathers  of  the 
Ismailites  doctrines  as  Bardesamians.  Their  doctrines 
could  be  got  together  from  the  Mutazils  and  the  Shiah', 
but  this  fact  only  enabled  them  to  adopt  anything  that  was 
not  Abbasid  or  Sunni. 

New,  indeed,  was  the  stern  discipline  for  which  the 
oriental  has  a  special  aptitude  when  sanctified  by  religion. 
The  conversion  of  Hamdan,  the  Qarmat,  by  the  Fatimid 
missionary  al  Husain  al-Ahwazi  offers  a  typical  illustration 
of  the  way  wherein  this  discipline  served  as  a  mode  of 
approach  "when  Ahwazi  was  proceeding  as  a  missionary  to 
Mesopotamia  he  met  Hamdan  ibn  al-As'ath,  the  Qarmat,  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  Kufa.  He  had  an  ox  which  carried 
something  for  him.  When  they  had  walked  for  an  hour 
Hamdan  spoke  to  Husain :  I  see  you  are  coming  from  a 
great  distance  and  you  look  tired,  sit  on  the  ox,  Husain 
rejoined  :  I  have  no  such  order.  Then,  said  Hamdan  it 
appears  you  do  what  you  are  bidden  to  do.  He  replied,  yes. 
Then  rejoined  Hamdan,  who  commands  and  forbids  thee? 
My  king  and  thine  to  whom  this  and  the  other  world 
belong  was  the  reply.  Hamdan  was  surprised.  He  paused 

(1)  Ibn  Hazm,  II,  116,  We  should  not  take  the  expression  literally. 
It  stood  then  for  a  heresy.    Kushairi,    38,    even    attacks  something 
quite  unzoroastran.    It  is  pure  magianism. 

(2)  Fihrist,  189.  (3)  Fihrist,  138;  Yaqut,  Irshad?  1,142, 
(4)  Fihrist   p,  187, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  309 

and  said  :  God  alone  is  the  king  over  this  and  that  world. 
Thereupon  the  other  rejoined  :  You  are  right  but  God 
gives  his  kingdom  to  him  whom  He  will;  and  he  began 
to  canvass  him.  He  (Husain)  went  to  him  (Hamdan)  to 
his  house,  took  from  the  people  the  oath  of  allegiance 
for  the  Mahdi  and  stayed  in  Hamdan's  house,  the  latter 
being  pleased  with  his  cause  and  its  importance./ 

Husain  was  very  keen  in  devotion.  He  fasted  during 
the  day,  kept  awake  at  night,  and  people  envied  anyone 
who  was  allowed  to  take  Husain  into  his  house  for  a 
night. 

As  a  tailor  he  earned  a  living.  His  person  and  his 
tailoring  brought  blessing  to  his  customers.2 

This  sect,  incorporating  within  its  bosom  many  old 
Mesopotamian  doctrines,  followed  the  Mesopatamian  method 
too,  in  setting  its  records  down  on  clay  tablets.  Their 
Missionaries  made  over  to  their  followers  a  seal  of  white 
clay  bearing  the  inscription  :  Mohammed  Ibn  Isma'il, 
the  Imam  the  friend  of  God  (Wali  allah),  the  Mahdi*. 

Now  also  in  the  Fatimid  Empire  was  the  introduc- 
tion of  officially  recognised  and  remunerated  clergy:  a 
thing  nowhere  to  be  found  in  Islam  till  then.  These  were 
the  quondam  missionaries  of  the  sect  (Du'at)  who,  now 
became  its  pastors  with  a  general  superintendent  over 
them'',  who  counted  as  one  of  the  highest  officers  of  State. 

Where  so  many  mahdis  and  Gods  flourished — the 
claim  to  be  a  prophet  would  be  out  of  date.  Even  a 
century  before  poor  jests  were  made  on  this  subject.  The 
biography  of  the  Caliph  Mamun  is  enlivened  by  several 
conversations  with  false  prophets.  But  even  now,  here 
and  there,  occasionally,  such  a  claimant  came  forward  in 
a  province.  In  322/934  far  away  in  the  pious  Transoxiana 
some  one  managed  by  alleged  miracles  to  secure  a  large 
following.  He  dipped  his  hand  in  the  water  and  fetched 
it  out  full  of  gold.  When,  he  became  troublesome  the 
Samanid  Governor  ordered  his  execution5. 

On  the  other  hand  a  year  later  in  Ispahan  a  colleague 
i.  e.  another  pretender  to  the  prophetic  office  is  said  to  have 
been  asked  by  the  head  of  the  state  if  he  could  establish 
his  claim  by  a  miracle,  to  which  he  replied  :  if  one  has  a 


[1]  The  great  success  of  the  sect  in  the  year  260/875  coincides 
with  the  death  of  Hasan  ibn  Ali  whom  the  majority  of  the  Shiites 
venerated  as  Imam  and  who,  to  their  greatest  embarrassment  died  child- 
less that  year.  Ibn  Hazm,  IV,  93.  [2]  Maqrizi,  Ittiaz  lOlff  [3]  J^uzi, 
Muntazam,  fol  296.  [4]  Nasir  Khusru  tr.  160.  (5]  Ibn  al-Athir, 
YIII,  216. 


310  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

beautiful  wife  or  a  daughter,  let  him  bring  her  to  me  and 
she  will,  in  a  single  hour,  be  presented  with  a  son.  This 
is  my  miracle.  To  this  the  presiding  Katib  replied  :  I 
believe  in  you  and  can  dispense  with  your  proof.  (But 
this  anecdote  is  already  reported  of  the  Court  of  al- 
Mamun)*.  Another  however,  proposed,  as  they  bad  no 
beautiful  woman,  to  furnish  a  she-goat  instead  :  whereupon 
the  prophet  made  preparations  to  go.  When  questioned, 
whither  ?  he  answered  :  I  am  going  to  Gabriel  to  report  to 
him  that  these  people  want  a  he-goat  and  need  no  Prophet. 
Thereupon  they  laughed  and  let  him  go®. 

The  term  (prophetaster)  (mutanabbi)  had  already  become 
a  nick-name  among  boys  and  hence  the  poet  Mutanabbi 
was  so  called  (d.  354/965)*. 

There  was  no  lack  in  this  century  also  of  men  who 
put  forward  no  such  high  pretentions  but  sought  simply 
and  humbly  to  serve  God  in  the  ways  of  the  faithful  of 
yore.  A  very  popular  form  of  higher  piety,  then,  was 
never  to  leave  the  house  save  for  the  Friday  prayer''.  The 
uneclesiastical  poet  Abul  Ala  ('d.  449/1057)  vowed  never 
to  leave  his  house.  Many  lived  in  a  mosque5.  The  Caliph 
al-Qadir  daily  distributed  to  those  living  in  mosques  one- 
third  of  the  food  provided  for  him.  In  384/994  died  a 
pious  man  who  for  seventy  years  had  never  leaned  against 
a  wall  or  had  used  a  pillow6.  Hujwiri  met  a  pious  man 
in  the  interior  of  Khorasan  who  never  sat  down  for  20 
years  except  when  required  to  do  so  at  prayer.  "It  does 
not  seem  proper  to  sit  down  while  contemplating  God"- 
said  he7.  Another  for  forty  years  never  lay  on  a  bed8. 
Another,  in  his  life-time,  had  made  his  grave  by  the  side 
of  the  resting-place  of  the  pious  Bishr  and  there  very 
often  read  the  Quran  through'9.  For  forty  years  Sattar 
al-Ispahani  (d.  339/950)  never  looked  up  to  the  sky*0. 
In  336/947  died  at  Mekka  a  holy  man  who  had  lived  a 
whole  year  through  on  30  dirharns,  given  by  his  father**. 
A  savant,  who  died  in  348/959,  fasted  during  the  day,  ate 
a  flat  cake  of  bread  (garif)  at  night  from  which  he  always 
saved  a  bit.  On  Fridays  he  gave  his  bread  as  alms  and  ate 
the  saved-up  bits**.  In  404/1013  died  a  pious  man  who 

(i;  Baihaqi,  ed.  Schwally,  31,  (2)  Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,130  f. 
(3)  J<tuzi,  fol  96.*   (4;  Jauzi,  fol  158  b  ;  169  a.    (5)  Jauzi,  fol  158  b. 
(6)    Ibn  al-Athir  IX,  74.    (7)    Kashf,  335.     (8)    Abu  Nu'aim,  Tarikh 
Ispahan,  Leiden,  fol  98  a. 

*In  th<3  "  Table  talk  of  a  Mesopotamian  Judge  (fslamie  culture)  the 
poet  admits  that  ho  actually  claimed  to  be  a  Prophet. 

(9,)    Yaqut,  Irshad,  1,  247.  (10)  Jauzi,  fol.  82  a:  Subki  Tabaaat,  IJ, 
J66.     (11)  Jauzi,  fol  80  a,  (12)  Jauzi,  fol  88  a, 


RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAU 

at  night  surrounded  himself  with  dangerous  utensils  so 
that  he  might  hurt  himself  should  he  drop  off  to  sleep. 
He  always  had  traces  of  injuries  on  his  head  and  forehead. 
He  never  took  a  bath,  never  cropped  his  hair.  When  the 
hair,  indeed,  grew  too  long  he  cut  it  wibh  clipping  shears. 
He  never  washed  his  clothes  with  soap1.  Another 
(d.  342/953),  while  at  prayer,  use  to  knock  his  head, 
weeping  against  the  wall  until  it  bled3.  Al-Baihaqi 
(d.  438/1046)  fasted  for  the  last  thirty  years  of  his  life  i.e. 
he  never  took  anything  during  the  day3. 

Strict  compliance  with  Law  was  reckoned  as  part  of 
asceticism.  In  400/1009  lived  a  savant  who  would  not 
hammer  a  nail  in  the  wall  of  the  house  which  he  shared 
with  another  for  fear  of  interfering  with  his  proprietary 
rights.  He  even  paid  the  taxes  twice  a  year  apprehending 
that  he  might  have  been  too  lightly  assessed ''.  A  man,  who 
died  in  494/1101,  refrained  from  taking  rice  on  the  ground 
that  it  needed  so  much  water  for  cultivation  that  the  culti- 
vator could  not  do  without  unlawfully  drawing  water  from 
his  neighbour's  field5  .  A  third  one  gave  emetic  to  his  little 
child  because  he  had  taken  milk  from  a  neighbour  woman, 
thus  unjustly  depriving  the  woman's  child  of  his  portion^  . 
In  al-Hakim  an  ascetic  sat,  at  last,  on  the  throne,  who 
strove  to  revive  the  stern  primitive  practices  of  Islam,  and 
wished  to  banish  the  world  out  of  religion. 

About  the  year  400/1009  he  closed  the  royal  kitchen, 
ate  only  what  his  mother  sent  him,  forbade  prostration, 
kissing  of  hand  and  the  use  of  the  term  'maulana'  (our 
Lord)  in  addressing  him.  He  let  his  hair  grow;  did  away 
with  the  "umbrella",  the  royal  ensign;  abolished  titles; 
removed  all  illegal  exactions  ;  restored  the  properties  con- 
fiscated by  him  or  his  grandfather,  manumitted  in  the 
mohurrum  0/400/1009  all  his  .male  and  female  slaves  and 
provided  them  with  a  dower ;  threw  into  the  Nile  his  female 
favourites  after  nailing  them  down  in  boxes,  weighted  with 
heavy  stones.  And  this  to  renounce  all  lust :  His  crown- 
prince  rode  in  full  royal  splendour  but  the  Caliph,  on  a 
donkey  with  an  iron  harness  by  his  side,  clad,  at  first  in 
white  and  later  in  black  wool,  carrying  a  bluefutah  (napkin) 
on  the  head  with  a  black  band7. 


[1]  Jauzi  fol  160  b.  [2]  Subki,  Tabaqat,  II,  80.  [3]  Subki,  Tabaqat, 
III,  5.  [4]  Subki,  III,  208,  [5]  Subki,  III,  222.  [6]  Subki,  III,  251. 

[7]  Ibn  Said,  fol  123  a  ff.  Even  the  Emperor  Nicephorus  Phocas 
[963-969]  wore  a  hair  shirt  and  a  girdle  of  penance  I?]  at  night. 


312  THE  IWNAlSSANCti  Of  ISLAM 

We  have  frequent  reports  of  "  conversions "  and  the 
consequent  withdrawal  from  the  world.  A  savant  and  poet, 
pupil  of  the  lexicographer  Jauhari,  repented,  undertook  a 
pilgrimage  to  Mekka  and  Medina,  withdrew  from  the 
world,  begged  Tha'alibi  to  publish  nothing  of  his  earlier 
love  and  laudatory  poems2.  A  Khorasanian  Qadi  ihus 
express  himself  in  a  poem  :  'Like  a  drearn  youth  has  flown 
and  now  that  death  draws  nigh,  others  will  soon  be  wrang- 
ling for  his  inheritance.  He  concludes  his  poem  with  a 
six-fold  farewell. 

"  Farewell,  0  Books,  which  I  have  composed  and 

adorned  with  clear  thoughts, 
Farewell,  0  Praise,  which  I  have  ingeniously 

wrought  and  woven  together  during  long  nights. 
To  you  bids  adieu  a  man  who  never  found 

what  he  sought  nor  attained  what  he  wished. 
To  his  Lord,  penitent  he  turns,  seeking  forgiveness 

for  his  sins  in  lowliness  of  heart.2 

Sudden  conversions  were  mostly  caused  by  Quranic  pas- 
sages which  do  not  make  a  very  effective  appeal  to  us. 
In  the  first  half  of  the  4th/10th  century  a  high  official  of 
the  Sultan  while  passing  through  the  town  like  a  Wazir  in 
stately  pomp  hears  a  man  recite  the  57  "verse  of  Sure  15". 
Is  it  not  time  for  those  who  believe  to  humble  themselves 
and  think  of  God  ?  And  lo  :  the  official  cries  out :  It  is, 
0  God,  it  is  :  He  dismounts,  takes  off  his  clothes,  rushes 
into  the  Tigris,  covers  his  body  with  water,  gives  all  his 
possessions  away.  A  passerby  gives  him  his  shirt  and  coat 
to  enable  him  to  come  put  of  the  water.*3  Others,  on  the 
other  hand,  only  sought  at  the  hour  of  death  to  ensure  them- 
selves against  the  Day  of  Judgment.  When  the  Samanid 
Nasr  Ibn  Ahmad  felt,  in  331/942,  the  approach  of  death, 
he  caused  a  tent  to  be  pitched  in  front  of  the  gate  of  the 
palace  and  named  it  the  "House  of  Divine  Service"  where, 
clad  in  a  penitent's  garb  he  performed  religious  duties *. 
Even  Muiz-ud-Dawlah  repented  before  his  death,  sent  for 
Jurists  and  theologians  and  questioned  them  regarding  the 
true  atonement  and  whether  he  could  duly  perform  it.  They 
replied  in  the  affirmative  and  told  him  what  to  say  and  to 
do.  He  gave  away  the  major  portion  of  his  wealth  in 
charity  and  emancipated  his  slaves.5 


[1]  Yatimah,  IV,  310.     [2]  Yatimah,  IV,  320. 

[3]     Jauei  fol.  69a. 

[4]     Mirkhond,  Hists.  saw,  50. 

[5]  Misk    VI    295;  Jauzi,    lOOa. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  313 

By  reason  of  the  insecurity  of  the  Arab  roads  pil- 
grimage, in  those  times,  became  not  only  dangerous  but 
impossible.  Since  the  time  of  the  Qarmatians  the  Beduins 
were  paid  to  let  the  official  pilgrim  pass  in  peace  (qafilat 
es-Sultan):  The  Usaifir,  for  instance,  got  at  least  9000 
dinars'.  Apart  from  the  Baghdad  Government,  other 
princes  too  contributed  towards  the  amount  paid  for  safe 
passage ;  the  prince  of  Media  (?),  in  386/996,  contributed 
5000  dinars2.  In  384/994,  the  Beduins  refused  safe 
passage  on  the  ground  that  the  dinars  of  the  previous <  year 
were  merely  gilded  silver  pieces.  They,  therefore,  claimed 
the  amount  for  both  the  years.  The  negotiations  broke 
down  and  the  pilgrims  returned  home/ 

In  421/1030  only  such  made  pilgrimage  from  Meso- 
potamia who  used  desert-camels  and  were  given  escorts 
from  tribe  to  tribe.  Every  one  of  these  escorts  got  four 
dinars  as  remuneration*.  Even  in  peaceful  times  pilgrims 
passed  through  severe  hardships  for  want  of  water  in  the 
desert  ;  those  who  lived  near  Arabia  themselves  were  not 
immune  from  such  hardships.  Ibn  al-Mutazz  compares 
a  disagreeable  man,  whose  company  was  unavoidable,  to 
the  water  of  the  pilgrimage  over  which  people  used  abusive 
language  at  every  halt  but  which  one  could  not  do  without'5. 
"He  died  on  the  pilgrimage''  is  the  uncanny  refrain  in 
many  biographies.  In  395/1004  the  pilgrim  caravan,  on 
the  return  journey,  suffered  so  terribly  from  scarcity  of  water 
that  people  urinated  on  their  hands  and  drank  ittf.  In 
402/1011  a  bag  of  water  cost  100  dirhams7.  In  403/1012 
the  Beduins  let  the  water  run  out  of  the  cisterns  provided  on 
the  pilgrim-route  and  threw  bitter- weed*8  in  the  wells:  15000 
pilgrims  thus  perished  or  were  taken  captives.  The  Gover- 
nor of  Kufa<0,  who  was  responsible  for  the  pilgrim-roads 
undertook  a  punitive  expedition,  killed  many  Beduins,  and 
sent  fifteen  of  their  ring-leaders  as  prisoners  to  Basra™. 
There  they  only  got  salt  to  eat  and  were  tied  up  by  the 
Tigris  where  they  perished  of  thirst.  Years  after  the 
Banu  Kbafagah,  the  worst  offenders  then,  were  attacked 
and  the  captive  pilgrims  released.  Till  their  release  they 

[1]  Jauzi,  136  b;  Masudi.  Tanbih,  75.  I  cannot  verify  this  reference  : 
Moze  does  not  quote  Mas'udi's  Tanbih,  which  is  about  a  different  matter,). 

[2]  Jauzi,  139a. 

(3)  Jauzi,  135  b;  Ibn  al-Athir,  IX,  74  where,  according  to  Jauzi, 
instead  of  dirhams,  '  'dinars'1  should  be  read.  (4j  Jauzi  fol  181  a. 
5  p.  5.  (6)  Arib,  24.  (7]  Jauzi,  foL  158  a.  (8)  p.  301  line  13  from 
the  top,  *(I  cannot  verify  this  passage.  Prof.  Margoliouth  Tr.) 

[9]    Jaujri,    fol  }58  a,    (10/  MJsk,  Vt 


314  THE  HENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

had  to  tend  the  flock  of  sheep  of  their  Lords  and  Masters. 
They  returned  home  only  to  find  "their  properties  distri- 
buted and  their  wives  re-married'".  In  405/1014,  20,000 
pilgrims  are  said  to  have  perished  and  6000  to  have  them- 
selves saved  by  drinking  camels'  urine  and  eating  camels' 
flesh*.  The  well-known  swelling-up  of  torrents  during 
the  rains  also  claimed  its  victims.  In  344/960  the  Egypt- 
tian  pilgrims  camped  in  a  valley  near  Mekka.  The 
torrent  suddenly  rose,  no  arrangement  could  be  made,  and 
the  Egyptians  were  drowned.  A  great  number  of  them 
perished,  the  rush  of  water  sweeping  them  and  their 
possessions  into  the  sea1*. 

The  ultra-pious  pilgrims  travelled  on  foot;  some, 
indeed  praying  two  Itakahs  at  every  mile-stone7'.  For  a 
Sufi  it  was  meet  and  proper  to  set  out  on  this  perilous 
journey  without  outfit  or  money5.  The  very  reverse  of 
the  Sufis  were  those  who  made  this  pious  journey  for 
money  on  behalf  of  other*  "for  their  lieart  is  perverse  and 
becomes  more  so  still  on  return.  They  derive  but  little 
benefit  from  their  journeys.  Some  have  done  two  or  three 
pilgrimages  and  yet  I  have  never  known  this  class  of  people 
to  thrive"6  or  to  possess  any  goodness".  The  return  of  the 
pilgrims  was  always  the  occasion  of  a  festive  celeberation. 
To  enter  Baghdad  fresh  the  next  day  for  the  festivity  they 
even  passed  the  previous  night  in  the  suburb  of  al  Yasiri- 
yyah7.  Those  proceeding  further  east  were  received  by  the 
Caliph.  In  391/1000  al-Qadir  availed  himself  of  this  great 
celebration  for  declaring  his  son  as  successor  to  the 
throne*.  The  numerous  local  sanctuaries  endeavoured 
to  divert  people  from  the  great  pilgrimage'9.  The  state- 
ment that  ten  visits  to  the  mosque  of  Jonas  at  Nineveh 
were  tantamount  to  a  pilgrimage  at  Mekka  is  significant™. 
More  important  sanctuaries,  doubtless,  offered  still  better 
terms*'.  Above  them  all  Jerusalem  moulded  its  old  attrac- 
tive powers  to  new  conditions.  From  the  5th/llth  century 
comes  the  report  that,  at  the  time  of  the  pilgrimage,  those 
who  could  not  proceed  to  Mekka,  came  to  Jerusalem  and 
there  performed  their  sacrificial  feast.  More  than  20,000 
assembled  there.  They  even  brought  their  boys  there  for 


(1)  Jauzi,   fol.  159a.        (2)  Jauzi,  fol.  162  b. 
(3)     Misk  VI,  240.     (4)  Ibn  Nu'aim    Tarikh,    Isfahan  Leiden,   fol. 
7lb.     (5)  Yaqut,  Irshad,   JI,    357.     (6)  Muk    127,    (Eng,   tr.  p.    205). 

(7)  Masari,  al-ushaq,  109. 

(8)  Wttz,  420;  Jattzi,  146a. 

(9)  Muk,    enumerates    the    places    of    piotts    visitation  (Eng,    tr) 
pp  154  sq  Tr,  (10)  Muk,  p,  146  (Eng,  tr.  p.  236),    (11)  Ibid, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  315 

circumcision1*  Even  reproductions  of  holy  places  are 
mentioned.  The  Caliph  Mutawakkil  built  a  Ka'aba  at 
Samarra,  surrounded  it  with  a  walk  for  circumambulation 
and  alfiO  places  in  the  fashion  of  Mina  and  Arafat2  to  enable 
him  to  dispense  with  granting  leave  to  his  generals  to  go 
on  pilgrimage  for  fear  of  desertion  and  disloyalty. 

In  mysticism  a  powerful  current  had  set  in  then  against 
pilgrimages*.  Even  earlier  still  a  Sufi  is  said  to  have 
induced  a  pilgrim  to  return  homo  and  look  after  his  mother1. 
The  following  words  are  put  into  the  mouth  of  one  who 
died  in  319/931  :  —  I  wonder  at  those  who  cross  the  deserts 
and  wildernesses  to  reach  His  House  and  sanctuary,  because 
the  traces  of  His  Prophets  are  to  be  found  there  :  why  do 
not  they  traverse  their  own  passions  and  lusts  to  reach 
their  hearts,  where  they  will  find  the  traces  of  their  Lord5? 
Abu  Hayyan  et-tauhidi,  mutazalite  and  sufi,  wrote, 
about  380/990,  a  Book  on  "  Spriritual  Pilgrimage  "  (Hajj 
aqli),  recommending  it  when  the  legal  one  becomes  too 
troublesome6.  When  in  the  5th/llth  century  tl>e  wazir 
Nizam-ul-mulk  was  making  arrangements  for  a  pilgrimage 
a  sufi  wrote  to  him  in  the  name  of  God  :  Why  do  you  go 
to  Mekka  ?  Your  pilgrimage  is  here.  Remain  with  these 
Turks  (the  seljuktan  Turks)  and  help  the  needy  ones  of 
your  community7. 

In  the  5th/llth  century  Hujwiri  (the  typical  sufi  of 
compromise)  declares  :  Any  one  who  is  absent  from  God  at 
Mekka  is  in  the  same  position  as  if  he  were  absent  from  God 
in  his  own  house,  and  any  one  who  is  present  with  God  in 
his  own  house  is  in  the  same  position  as  if  he  were  present 
with  God  at  Mekka8. 

We  get  the  impression,  indeed,  that  the  cultured  cir- 
cles, in  response  to  the  growing  reverence  for  the  Prophet, 
attached  greater  importance  to  the  visit  to  Medina.  The 
famous  Bukhari  wrote  his  "chronicles"  (Tarikh)  by  the 
grave  of  the  Prophet'9,  Says  the  disciple  of  the  philo- 
logist Jauhari  :  I  have  come  on  foot  but  fain  would  I  come 
on  my  eyes  to  the  grave  where  the  Prophet  of  God  lies1*., 
Even  the  Wazir  Kafur  of  Egypt,  patron  of  the  far-famed 
traditionist  Daraqutni,  purchased  a  house  in  Medina  along- 
side of  the  grave  of  the  Prophet  for  his  burial71  . 

(1)  Nasir  Khusru,  fcr.  66.  (2)  Muk.  mentions  Mutasim,  Eng.  fcr   p.  169  Tr. 

la 


(4)  Kashf,  91.  (5)  Kashf,  140.  (6)  Yaqufc,  Irshad,  V,  382  (7)  Snbki,  III,  140. 
f8)  Kashf,  329.  (9)  Abulfida,  Annales,  year  256.  (10)  Yaqut,  Irshad, 
11,357.  (11)  Irshad,  II,  408. 


316  THE  liENAIHSANCE  Of  ISLAM 

A  quondam  Wazir  (d.  488/1095)  served  in  the  "Gardeti 
of  the  Elect71  swept  the  mosque  of  the  Prophet,  laid  the 
mats,  cleaned  the  lamps7. 

The  obligation  of  the  Holy  war  now,  as  ever,  was  very 
seriously  taken.  ''Through  the  path  of  God"  many  God- 
fearing people  sought  paradise.  To  Tarsus,  the  base  of  opera- 
tion against  the  Byzantines,  the  hereditary  enemies  of 
Islam,  trooped  in  the  faithful  from  all  sides  for  war-service. 
To  Tarsus  also  streamed  in  pious  gifts  and  donations  from 
those  who  could  not  personally  take  part  in  the  war.  "From 
Sijistam  to  the  Maghrib  there  was  no  town  of  importance 
which  had  not  its  station  (dar)  there  for  its  warriors  to  rest 
before  the  actual  campaign.  To  them  poured  in  conside- 
rable money  and  rich  presents  from  home  as  well  as  from 
the  Government.  Every  distinguished  man  endowed  pro- 
perty or  made  other  provisions  for  them5.  The  inhabitants 
of  the  frontier  fortresses  were  always  accorded  a  warm  wel- 
come at  Baghdad  and  it  was  for  that  reason  that  the 
philologist  al-Qali  (d.  356/967)  is  said  to  have  given  himself 
out  to  be  the  child  of  the  Armenian  Qaliqala". 

At  once  lucrative  and  effective  was  the  fraud  practised 
in  the  Islamic  Empire  in  the  shape  of  collecting  funds  for 
the  Holy  war  or  for  ransoms  of  captives.  To  make  a  better 
or  stronger  impression  many  of  these  swindlers  went  about 
collecting  subscription  on  horse-back*.  In  Egypt  the 
frontiers  (Mawahiz)  were  garrisoned  by  soldiers  (ahled- 
Diwan)  and  volunteers  (muttawwiah).  The  pious  donations 
for  the  war  (sabil)  were  collected  every  year  and  adminis- 
tered by  the  Qadhi  who  forwarded  the  amount  to  the  frontiers 
in  the  month  of  Abib.  Transoxiana,  whose  inhabitants, 
among  muslims,  were  noted  for  their  unrivalled  self-sacri- 
ficing zeal,  was  the  second  most  important  military  centre. 
"In  the  Islam fo  countries"  says  Istakhari,  "the  prosperous 
spend,  by  far  the  greatest  part  of  their  wealth,  in  pleasures 
and  in  objectionable  practices  but,  with  rare  exceptions,  in 
Transoxiana  the  rich  utilize  their  money  in  keeping  the 
roads  in  repair,  on  Holy  war  and  in  other  commendable 
objects"5  The  town  of  Bikend — between  Bokhara  and  the 
Oxus — is  said  to  have  had  about  10CO  hostels  for  soldiers 
fighting  in  the  cause  of  the  Faith;  the  town  of  Asbighab 


(1)  Snbki,  III,  55.  (2)  Ihn  Hankal,  122.  (8)  Yaqnt,  Trshod,  II, 
353.  fit  rests  on  a  mistake  :  these  people  were  respected  because  of 
their  relation-ship  to  Armenian  King  (thagaror)  :  they  supposed  the  word 
to  he  a  misprint  for  thitr/h'un  "frontier").  Prof.  Margoliouth  Tr.). 

[4]  The    Beggar-Muqamah  of    Abu   Dnlaf.  Yatimah,  III.  Kindi,  419 

(5)  Istakhri,  290. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  317 

'even  1700  where  food  for  the  needy  was  found  and  fodder 
for  their  animals.  The  zeal  for  the  Holy  \var  drove  the 
Easterners,  at  the  time  of  the  great  Byzantine  successes, 
even  to  the  western  front.  In  355  some  20,000  religious 
warriors  appeared  with  elephants  on  the  Eastern  frontier  of 
the  Northern  Buwayyid  Empire.  But  their  attitude  was 
wholly  unlike  that  of  the  warriors  fighting  for  the  Faith. 
The  Commanding  Officer  of  the  frontier  reported  that  they 
had  no  common  leader  but  the  warriors  of  each  town  had 
their  own  Chief.  The  Wazir  hoped  to  satisfy  them  with 
little,  as  they  were  wont  to  do  with  people  warring  for  their 
faith,  but  they  claimed  the  entire  land-tax  of  the  country  : 
you  have  hoarded  the  la.nd-tax  in  the  Treasury  of  the  faith- 
ful to  meet  cases  of  need  and  emergency  but  what  need  or 
emergency  can  be  greater  or  graver  than  to  see  the  Greeks 
and  Armenians  Masters  of  our  frontiers  and  the  Faithful 
too  weak  to  withstand  them.  They  also  demanded  that  the 
troops  of  the  Prince  should  effect  a  junction  with  them. 
When  their  demands  were  rejected,  those  tribes  revolted 
charged  the  Government  with  infidelity,  harried  the  town 
all  night,  marched  about  with  swords,  lences,  bows  and 
arrows  and  robbed  the  people  of  their  head-gears  as  it  was 
the  month  of  Eamadhan  and  the  people  were  out  in  the 
streets.  They  beat  drums  all  night  in  their  camp  and  thre- 
atened battle.  In  the  morning  they  attacked  the  house  of 
the  Wazir  wrho,  in  course  of  the  attack,  received  a  lance- 
wound  and  was  constrained  to  seek  safety  at  the  castle  of 
the  Prince.  His  house,  stables,  store-rooms  were  rifled  and 
when  the  Wazir  returned  home  at  night  he  found  nothing  to 
sit  upon — no,  not  even  a  cup  to  drink  from.  Eventually  he 
managed  to  suppress  the  rebels  and  avert  the  danger.  Had 
they  marched  on  with  the  resources  at  their  command  they 
would  have  defeated  the  Greeks.  But  God  had  willed 
otherwise  J '. 

SEEMONS. 

When  a  man  remarked  to  the  Caliph  Abdul  Malik 
"You  have  become  prematurely  old".  The  Caliph  replied  : 
"No  wonder,  every  Friday  I  have  to  set  my  wits  against 
that  of  the  people'  *.  He  is  further  reported  to  have  said  : 
"It  would  be  splendid  to  rule  without  the  clatter  of  the 
post-horses  and  the  hard  wood  of  the  pulpit"5.  Even  for 
other  leaders  the  weekly  appearance  before  the  community 


[1]  Misk,  VI,  283  ff;  Amedroz,  Main  111,331  ff,  Istakhri,  314;  Muk, 
273;  Istakhri,  220.  [2]  i.  e.  he  had  to  speak  in  public,  and  might  make  a 
mistake  in  his  Arabi.  [8]  Muhadarat  &l-Udaba  p.  821. 


318  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

was  an  irksome  duty-leaders  more  familiar  with  swords  than 
with  books.  They,  for  instance,  put  forward  before  the 
community  verses  of  the  heathen  poets  as  words  of  God1. 

Harun  al-Kashid  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  who 
committed  to  memory  sermons  prepared  by  others.  His  son 
Amin  got  his  teacher,  the  grammarian  al-Asmai,  to  prepare 
ten  sermons  for  the  mosques2.  In  the  3rd/9th  century  even 
in  this  small  matter  the  good  old  simple  ways  of  Islam  had 
ceased. 

High  dignitaries  gave  up  the  weekly  sermons  and  com- 
mitted them  to  the  charge  of  professional  preachers3.  It 
is  related  as  something  extraordinary  of  the  devout  Muh- 
tadi  (255-256/866-867)  that  every  Friday  he  ascended  the 
pulpit  of  the  chief  mosque*.  Towards  the  end  of  the  3rd/9th 
century  Mutadid  led  the  prayer  on  the  battle  field,  but 
never  actually  delivered  a  sermon5.  Only  on  festive  occa- 
sions did  the  ruler  ascend  tho  pulpit;  but  when  the  Caliph 
Muti  (334-363/945-974)  desired  to  preach  at  Bairam  which 
concluded  the  month  of  Ramadhan,  precedent  was  wanting 
as  to  how  he  was  to  act  on  the  occasion6'.  A  sermon  of 
al-Tael,  which  he  delivered  in  the  year  363  on  the  occasion 
of  the  sacrificial  feast,  has  come  down  to  us.  It  is  very 
brief  and  refers  merely  in  a  sentence  to  the  legend  relating 
to  the  feast.  His  sermon7  slightly  abridged  runs  thus  : 
"God  is  great,  God  is  great.  There  is  no  God  but  Allah. 
He  has  placed  me  as  the  administrator  of  my  community 
etc.  etc.  God  is  great.  He  has  entrusted  me  with  the  protec- 
tion of  my  people,  their  goods  and  chattels  and  their  wives 
and  children.  He  has  destroyed  my  enemies  in  the  desert 
and  in  the  country  and  has  placed  me  as  a  good  deputy 
over  the  earth  aad  all  that  is  within  the  earth.  God  is 
great.  He  commanded  bis  prophet  and  friend  to  slay  our 
father  Ismael  and  without  shrinking  he  was  ready  to  do  so. 
Come,  therefore,  to  God  on  this  great  day  with  animals  for 
sacrifice  and  you  should  come  full  of  faith  within  you.  God 
is  great.  May  God  bless  Mohamed,  the  elect,  his  house, 
his  followers  and  my  fathers,  the  noble  Caliphs.  Help  me 
in  my  Government  and  strengthen  me  in  the  caliphate 

[1]  Yaqut,  Irsliad,  VI,  94.  [2]  Tanukhi,  K.  al-Faragh  ba'd  essiddah, 
1,  19.  [3]  With  many  governors  their  defective  knowledge  of  Arabic 
stood  in  the  way  of  discharging  their  ecclesiastical  duties.  The  last  Arab 
Amir  of  Egypt  (238-242)  was  also  the  last  who  led  the  prayer.  Kindi, 
202  (Ed,  Guest).  [4]  Masndi,  VIII.2.  [5]  Abnlmahsin,  II,  87. 

[6]  Yaqut,  Irshad,  II,  349,  [7]     Jausi,  fol.  106  b.  The  conclusion  is  the 
usual  one  as  in  Ibn  Nubatah. 


THE  ItENAISUANCE  OF  ISLAM  319 

which  he  has  given  unto  me.  I  warn  you,  0  Faithful, 
against  the  love  of  the  world.  Do  not  surrender  your  heart 
to  that  which  passes  away.  I  fear  for  you  the  Day  of 
Judgment — when  you  will  stand  before  God.  Your  page  in 
the  Book  will  be  read  out  to  you.  May  God  help  you  and 
us  in  doing  things  pious  :  I  pray  God  for  forgiveness  for 
myself,  for  you,  and  for  all  the  faithful. 

The  Fatimid  rulers,  on  the  other  hand,  stressed  the 
ecclesiastical  aspect  of  the  Caliphate  and  mounted  the 
pulpit  every  Friday.  They  read  out  the  sermon  from  a 
manuscript  prepared  by  the  Diwan  el-Insha  ^drafting 
department)'.  Until  the  construction  of  the  mosque  named 
after  him  Al-Hakim,  for  instance,  preached  one  Friday  at 
the  Amr  Mosque,  another  at  that  of  Ibn  Tulun,  on  the 
third  at  Azhar  and  rested  on  the  fourth3. 

The  Klmtbali  is  not  a  sermon  in  the  western  sense  of 
the  term.  It  is  merely  a  piece  of  liturgy  which  offered 
greater  liberties  to  the  officiating  persons  than  the  rest  of 
the  service  (i.e.  it  was  not  stereo-typed,)  like  the  prayers  : 
For  this  reason  precisely  they  did  not  expect  anything  new 
every  Friday.  It  is  specially  noted  of  a  preacher  at  Nisa- 
pur  (d.  494/1101)  that  he  delivered  a  fresh  sermon  each 
time*.  Ibn  Nubatah,  (d. 374/984),  the  court  preacher  of 
Saif-ud-Dawlah  at  Aleppo,  was  tire  most  famous  preacher 
of  the  4th/10th  century.  The  collection  of  his  sermons  shows 
the  art  of  preaching  at  its  be^t  in  that  age.  The  fact  that  the 
prophet  Mohamed  himself  was  no  great  orator,  as  the 
Muslim  tradition  affirms,  has,  at  least,  saved  Islam,  if  not 
from  all  other  dangers,  at  least  from  idle  chatter.  He  has 
commanded''  to  pray  long  but  to  preach  little  and,  hence, 
it  is  that  in  Ibn  Nubatah  the  actual  sermon  never  lasts 
more  than  five  minutes.  A  short  praise  of  God  and  prayer 
for  the  Prophet  preceded  the  sermon.  The  preacher,  then, 
sat  down  soon  to  rise  again  to  read  the  Khutbah  Thani* 
yah,  (second  Discourse).  'Brief  as  the  sitting  of  the  prea- 
cher1 was  the  complaint  made  by  the  contemporary  poet 
Ibn  Hamdis  against  a  hasty  meeting  with  the  loved-one. 
The  sermon  proper  always  opened  with  a  passage  from  the 

[1]     Maqrizi,   Khitat  II,  55  Even  of  e»rlier  times   we  hear  that 
sermons  Were  read  but  in  Egypt,  Khitat,  II,  390. 

[2]    Suyuti,  Husnul  Miihadhera,  II,  155.    [3]     Subki,  III  285. 

[4]    Jahiz,   Bayan,    1,117,  p.  42 — In  the   old  Islam  sermons  were 
always  short ;  eloquence  consisted  in  hitting  off  the  point, 


320  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Quran,  followed  up  with  a  stereo-typed  conclusion  :  "May 
God  bless  us  and  you  through  the  verse  quoted  and  through 
our  pious  meditation.  I  pray  God  for  forgiveness  for  my- 
self, for  you  and  for  all  the  faithful/  Even  the  ordinary 
service  was  much  shorter  than  it  is  to-day3.  Specially 
solemn  was  the  passage  where  the  preacher  turned  first  to 
the  right,  then  to  the  left,  then  straight  in  front  invoking 
the  blessing  of  God  on  the  Prophet*.  This  part  of  the 
service  was  of  great  importance  to  the  preacher  as  he  had  a 
number  of  texts  to  select  from''.  In  the  time  of  war  the 
preacher  prayed  for  victory  for  the  ruler.  For  instance  : — 

God,  grant  to  the  Amir  so  and  so  victory  over  thy 
enemies,  the  refractory  infidels,  who  have  strayed  away  from 
thy  path;  who  have  denied  thy  revelations  and  have  con- 
tradicted thy  messenger.  Let  them  have  no  army  that  is 
not  destroyed.  Let  them  have  no  desert  to  flee  to;  no  blood 
Jeft  to  be  shed;  no  fugitive  to  escape;  no  fortress  to  capture 
or  destory;  nothing  holy  which  may  not  be  profaned  and 
nothing  noble  which  may  not  be  humbled  and  vanquished. 

0  God  grant  him  victory  over  thine  enemies  and  place 
their  forelock  in  his  hands  so  that  he  may  humble  and  eject 
them  from  their  fortifications  and  they,  in  subjection, 
render  tribute  to  him  from  near  and  afar5. 

The  time  allotted  to  the  sermon  was  much  too  short  to 
permit  ot  a  commentary  on  the  text.  From  old  times  the 
usual  Friday  sermon  has  but  one  theme  :  the  end  is  near. 
For  man,  death  and  the  grave;  for  "the  world,  the  Day  of 
Judgment.  And  thus  does  the  sermon  run  in  a  concise, 
nervous  way.  The  little  joys  and  sorrows  of  life  are  of  no 
moment.  Those  that  see  the  fire  of  Hell  behind  worry  not 
about  the  flowers  on  the  road-side.  Already  Ali  is  reported 
to  have  fervently  preached  :  "Flee  !  Flee  !  Save  yourselves, 
save  yourselves.  Behind  you  is  the  arch-enemy,  intent  on 
his  work,  hurriedly  advancing  towards  you". 

To  describe  the  blessedness  of  heaven  or  even  the  tor- 
tures of  Hell  would  have  been  too  agreeable.  Now  all  the 

(1)  Sermons.  Ed.  Beyrut,  6.  (Sahban  (d.  54  H/673)  was  the  most 
celebrated     preacher  and  orator  of  the  early  days  of  Islam.  One  of  the 
earliest  extant  specimens  of  an  arab  Khutbah  in  rhymed  prose  is  by  him. 
Chanery's  Hariri,  1,309  Tr.) 

(2)  Two  sermons  (translated  into  English]  from  India  and  Egypt, 
Hughes,  Diet,  of  Islam,  under   Khutbah  Lane,  Manners,   73   (Oh   III 
p.  84ff).     One  at  the  Court  of  the  Almohades  in  Fagnan's  tr.  of  the    Hist. 
°f  the  Almohades  by  Merrakechi  p.   295ff. 

(3)  In  Khorasan  he  did  not  do  this,  Muk,   327. 

(4)  Ibn  Nubatah  ,  28?ff. 

(5)  p.  321ff. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  'OF  ISLAM  321 

rhetorical  powers  are  concentrated  on  the  moment  when 
this  life  and  this  world  would,  with  a  fearful  crash,  come  to 
an  end.  The  important  matter  was  to  cry  out  retpice  finem 
(think  of  the  end)  to  people  who  lived  for  the  day  more 
sensually  and  naively  than  we  do. 

Thus  Ibn  Nubatah  (p.  69  tt)  :— 

Rid  the  heart  of  thoughtlessness  and  the  soul  of  lustful 
desires.  Subdue  licentiousness  by  the  thought  of  the 
onrushing  death.  Fear  the  day  when  your  sins  will*  be 
recognized  by  their  scars.  Think  of  him  who  up  on  high 
calls  from  heaven;  who  makes  the  bones  alive;  who  gathers 
mankind  at  a  spot  where  illusions  cease  but  where  sorrow 
and  repentance  endure.  A  caller,  indeed,  who  makes  decayed 
bones  listen;  who  gathers  together  vanished  bodies  from  the 
eyrie  of  birds  of  prey  and  the  flesh  of  wild  animals;  from 
the  bottom  of  the  sea  and  the  ridges  of  the  mountains  until 
every  limb  finds  its  proper  place  and  every  part  of  the  body 
is  restored. 

Then,  a  fearful  trial  will  be  your  lot,  0  men,  your  faces 
will  be  covered  with  dust  from  the  reeling  of  the  earth  and 
you  will  be  livid  with  fright.  You  will  be  naked  and  bare- 
footed as  you  were  on  the  day  you  were  born.  Then  the 
Caller  will  demand  your  attention.  His  look  will  pierce 
you  through  and  through.  Full  of  perspiration  you  will  be 
covered  with  dust.  The  earth  will  tremble  with  all  its 
burden— mountains  will  totter  and  fall  and  will  be  swept 
away  by  the  rising  wind. 

Wide  open  were  the  eyes, 

Not  an  eye  could  close  : 

The  station  was  crowded  with  heavenly  and  earthly 
folk: 

And  whilst  the  creatures  standing  were  awaiting  the 
realization  of  what  had  been  told  them 

With  the  angels*  in  their  ranks  all  around  : 

So,  there  surrounds  them  hell's  darkness, 

There  covers  then  smokeless  flame, 

They  hear  it  roar  and  gurgle, 

Showing  forth  wrath  and  anger, 

Here  upon  those  that  were  standing  sink  on  their  knees 

The  guilty  then  will  receive  their  certain  doom  and 
even  the  pure  will  be  in  fear  and  trembling.  And  the  Pro- 
phets will  bow  for  fear  of  the  Lord. 

(I)    Following  Mary's  emendation, 


322  THE  BENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Then  they  will  hear  :  where  is  the  servant  of  God; 
where,  the  son  of  his  hand  maid  ?  Where  is  he  who  persi- 
sted in  his  delusion  ?  Where  is  he  who  was  torn  away  by 
death  when  unprepared  ?  They  will  all  be  detected  and 
called  to  account  for  the  use  they  made  of  their  lives.  They 
will  plead  and  prevaricate;  they  will  stand  in  terror  before 
Him  who  knows  their  most  secret  thoughts.  Like  lightning, 
then,  God  will  thunder  and  with  an  iron  rod  He  will  rule. 
All  their  excuses  will  melt  away  before  a  Book  regularly 
kept,  the  precise  register  of  their  sins.  Then,  indeed  will 
the  soul  realize  its  plight,  will  have  no  companion  or  helper 
save  the  just  but  severe  judge. 

"And  the  wicked  shall  see  the  fire  and  shall  have  a 
fereboding  that  all  shall  fall  into  it,  and  they  shall  find  no 
escape  from  it"*  May  God  lead  you  and  us  to  the  path  of 
salvation  and  take  away  from  you  and  us  the  burden  of 
gloom  and  make  the  pure  doctrine  of  the  unity  of  God  or 
light  in  the  darkness  of  the  Last  Day  !  The  word  of  the 
Creator  is  the  richest  source  of  wisdom  and  the  brightest 
light  in  darkness. 

"When  one  blast  shall  be  blown  on  the  trumpet,  And 
the  earth  and  the  mountains  shall  be  lifted  up  and  shall 
both  be  dashed  in  pieces  at  a  single  stroke.  On  that  day 
the  woe  that  must  come  suddenly  shall  suddenly  come. 

And  the  heaven  shall  cleave  asunder,  for  on  that  day  it 
shall  be  reft; 

And  the  angels  shall  be  on  its  sides,  and  over  them 
on  that  day  eight  shall  bear  up  the  throne  of  thy 
Lord. 

On  that  day  ye  shall  be  brought  before  Him  : 
No  hidden  deed  shall  remain  hidden  from  you2. 

Of  heaven  there  is  very  little  talk  and  none  at  all  of  a 
theme  very  popular  with  us — meeting  again  after  death. 
Much  too  engrossing  was  the  fear  of  the  last  day  and  of 
Judgment  !  The  words  of  a  distinguished  Arab  lady  :  "I 
long  for  the  Last  Day  to  see  my  husband's  face  again"  are 
often  quoted  as  an  amazing  proof  of  a  love  which  conquered 
the  greatest  of  all  terrors— the  terror  of  the  Day  of  Judg- 
ment5. All  the  sermons  of  Ibn  Nubatah  are  in  rhymed  prose. 

(1)    Quran,  fcmra,  18,  51,  Bodwell's  tr. 

f2)    Sura  69, 13-18. 

(3)    For  instance.    Thufat  el-Aru$,  162, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  Of  ISLAM  323 

The  words  all  end  on  the  same  note.  Even  the  introduction 
of  rhymed  prose  in  sermons  is  an  innovation  which  dates 
from  about  the  middle  of  the  3rd/9th  century  and,  now, 
attains  its  highest  point.  Ibn  Khallikan  mentions  a  later 
preacher  who,  though  aware  of  the  new  style,  preferred  the 
simpler  one  of  the  earlier  days*.  But  noteworthy  it  is 
that  even  in  this  sphere  the  4/10th  century  fixed  the  rules 
and  settled  the  standard  for  later  Islam.2  If  the  rhetorical 
sermons  of  the  Christians,  delivered  on  important  feast 
days,  were  nothing  more  or  less  than  hymns  in  prose — the 
Muslim  Sermons  of  the  4th/10th  century  were  no  different. 
The  similarity  between  the  two  is  too  striking  to  permit 
any  one  to  deny  the  influence  of  the  Christian  over  the 
Muslim  style.  Possibly  the  Quranic  style  too  was  influ- 
enced by  it. 

The  collected  sermons  of  Ibn  Nubatah  contain  sermons 
which  he  delivered  on  New  Year's  Day,  on  the  anniversary 
of  the  death  of  the  Prophet,  on  the  Holy  months  of  Eajab 
and  Bamadhan,  on  the  Feast  of  Bairam.  His  sermons  on 
the  Holy  War,  fruits  of  the  warlike  days  of  Saif-ud-Dawlah, 
are  in  no  way  inferior  to  the  most  famous  models  of  the 
earlier  days*. 

You  people,  how  long  will  you  hear  the  warning   with- 
out heeding  it  ? 

How   long   will   you   allow  yourself  to    be    scourged 
without  bestirring  yourself  ? 

Your  eais  seem  to  dissipate  the  words  of  the  preacher 
or  else  your  hearts  are  too  proud  to  listen  to  them.  Your 
enemies  are  up  and  doing  and  this  because  you  are  more 
lazy  and  languid  than  they. 

And  the  devil  has  roused  them  to  maintain  his  lies, 
and  they  have  followed  him. 

(1)  Intro,  to  Ibn  Nubatah,  19. 

(2)  The  sermon-Book  of  Abul  Ala  has  preserved  a  fragment  of  the 
old  style.    It  contains  sermons  for  the  Fridays,  for  the  two  festivals,  for 
the  eclipse  of  the  Sun,  for  praying  for  rain,   for  mourning.    They  are 
alphabetically  arranged.     But  they  only  reprasent  rhymes  in  b.d.r.l.m.n, 
because  other  letters  were  too  artifical  and  the  style  of  the  sermon 'deman- 
ded easy  flow.    Yaqut»  Irshad,  I.  182. 

(3)  Norden,  die  antike  Kunstprosa,  II,  844.  The  Khutdb  al-Jihadi- 
yyah  are  said  to  have  been  composed  in  348  when  the  Byzantines  occu- 
pied Mayfariqin.    Abulmahasia  II,  349, 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

Whereas   the  Almighty  has  called  yau  to  his  Truth 

and  you  have  ignored  the  Call. 
Beasts  fight  for  wife  and  child  and  birds  die  in  defence 

of  their  nests. 

• 

And  they  have  neither  prophets  nor  revelations. 

Like  camels,  you,  who  have  insight  and  intelligence, 
Law  and  wisdom,  scatter  away  before  your  enemies  or 
meet  them  in  the  mask  of  weakness  and  cowardice. 

You  should  ralher  have  attacked  their  country  for  you 
have  the  assurance  of  God's  words  and  you  believe  in  His 
reward  and  punishment. 

God  has  distinguished  you  with  power  and  strength 
and  has  made  you  the  best  of  mankind. 

Where  is  the  undying  ardour  uf  Faith  ? 
Where  the  Faith  that  shields  and  shelters  you  ? 
Where  the  dread  of  Hell-Fire  ? 
Where  the  trust  in  the  Almighty  2 
In  His  Holy  Book  verily  has  God  said  : — 
"If  ye  be  steadfast   and   fear  God,   and   the  foe  como 
upon  you  in  hot  haste,  your  Lord  will  help  you  with 
five  thousand  angels  in  their  cognizances. 

And  this,  as  pure  good  tidings  for  you,  did  God  appoint, 
that  your  hearts  might  thereby  be  assured—  for  only  from 
God,  the  mighty,  the  wise,  conies  victory7. 

God  claims  faith  and  perseverance  of  you  and  He,  in 
return  assures  help  and  victory, 

Do  you  not  really  trust  him  ? 
Do  you  doubt  his  justice  and  goodness  ? 
Thus  vie  with  each  other  in  the  Holy  War  with  a  pure 
heart  and  steadfast  soul,  with  joy  and  promptitude. 

Resolve  firmly  and  tear  the  ribbon  of  sloth  and  shame 
from  off  your  forehead. 

Give  your  soul  up  to  Him  whom  it  belongs  ! 

Eely  not  upon  prudence,  for  it  will  not  stave  of  death. 

'  Be  not  like  the  infidels,  who  said  of  their  bretheren 
when  they  had  travelled  by  land  or  had  become  combatants 
"had  they  ?  kept  with  us,  they  had  not  died,  and  had  not 
been  slain!  ".  God  purposed  that  this  affair  should  cause 
them  heart-sorrow  !  And  God  maketh  alive  and  killeth; 
and  God  beholdeth  your  actions"2. 


(1)    Sura,  3,  121  ff.    (2)    Sura,  8,  150. 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  325 

War,  War,  you  men  of  courage ! 

Victory,  Victory,  you  men  of  unflinching  resolve! 

Paradise,  Paradise,  lor  you  that  go  forward ! 

HelJ,  Hell,  for  you  who  fly  ! 

The  surest  foundation .  of  faith,  the  widest  gate  to 
Heaven  and  the  steps  that  lead  to  the  fairest  garden  there, 
is  the  Holy  war. 

He  who  stands  by  God,  stands  between  two 
rewards,  universally  coveted  and  worth  striving  for : 
the  crown  of  victory  in  this  and  the  martyr's  crown  is 
the  next  world. 

And  of  these  the  latter  is  by  far  the  sweetest. 
Thus  stand  by  God  for  the  War  on  behalf  of  God 
is  the  surest  citadel  against  perdition. 
"And  him  who  helpeth  God  will  God  surely  help; 
verily,  God  is  strong,  mighty.7 

The  word  oi  God  is  the  most  illuminating   thing  for 
chasing  the  darkness  of  the  heart  away. 

Bead  :  "0  Believers  :  What  possessed  you,  that  when 
it  was  said  to  you,  march  forth  on  the  way  of  God  "  ye 
sank  heavily  eai^h  wards  ?  Arc  you  contented  with  the  life 
of  this  world  instead  of  the  next?  Yet  the  fruition  of  this 
mundane  life,  in  respect  of  that  which  is  to  come,  is  but 
little.  Unless  you  march  forth,  with  a  grievous  chastise- 
ment Will  He  chastise  you,  and  place  another  people  in  your 
stead,  and  ye  shall  in  no  way  harm  Him  :  for  over  every- 
thing is  God  potent"". 

Only  the  colour  of  preacher's  attire  did  the  Govern- 
ment prescribe.  When  prayer  was  offered  for  the  Abbasid 
Caliphs  tho  Official  black  colour  was  used;  in  Fatimid  coun- 
tries the  white  colour.  Since,  however,  there  was  no 
clergy  or  special  ecclesiastical  dress  the  preacher  generally 
conformed  to  the  provincial  tradition.  In  Mesopotamia 
and  Khuzistan  the  preacher  wore  full  military  uniform:* 
tunic  and  girdle7;  whereas  in  Kiorasan  he  used  neither 
a  mantle  nor  a  tunic  but  only  a  coat  (Durr'ah)*.  In 
401£1010  a  Fatimid  preacher  preached  at  Mosul  in  a  tunic 
of  white  Egyptian  linen,  a  yellow  head  band,  trousers  of 
red  brocade  and  shoes.  The  white  tunic  was  regarded  as 
sufficient  official  colour'5.  Only  at  Basra,  the  centre  of 
piety  and  Pharisaism  in  Mesopotamia,  the  official  preacher 

(1)    Sura  22.  41.    (2)  Sura  9,  38  ff.   (3)  Muk,  129  (Eng.  tr.  p.  207) 
(4)    Muk,    327.    (5)    Ibn,  Tagribirdi  ed  Popper,  107. 


326  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

preached  every  morning,  a  practice  which  Ibn  Abbas  had 
followed.  Elsewhere  the  official  preacher  preached  only 
on  Fridays  leaving  the  rest  of  the  week  to  private  preachers 
who  always  were  much  too  eager  to  volunteer  their  services. 
These  were  called  Qussas  "narrators".  Goldziher  has 
written  their  history 1 .  Maqrizi,  too,  in  one  of  his  beauti- 
ful sketches,  has  collected  a  good  many  story  about  them. 
He  makes  and  old  tradition  distinguish  between  the  'story- 
teller' (Qasfr)  who  was  not  MaJcruh  (undesirable)  and  the 
official  one  such  as  was  already  appointed  by  Mu-awiya 
whose  duty  it  was  to  pronounce  the  dhikr  Allah  after  the 
morning  prayer,  to  praise  God,  to  say  prayers  for  the 
prophet,  the  Caliph,  and  his  supportersand  to  curse  the 
enemies  and  the  infidels2.  In  addition  to  these  duties, 
after  the  Friday  sermon  he  had  to  read  and  explain  the 
Quran.  This  office  was  first  held  by  the  Qadhi.  But,  this 
fact  is  only  attested  regarding  Egypt;  the  office  probably 
being  an  institution  of  the  Egyptian  church'7.  Even  the 
Egyptian  Qadhi,  appointed  in  204,  was  a  Qass  (Popular 
preacher''.  Then  the  union  of  the  two  offices  ceases ; 
while  the  Qadhi  rises  in  importance,  the  other  sinks  into 
insignificance. 

The  Qass,  appointed  in  301/913,  wanted  to  read  the 
Quran  daily  but  his  superior  officer  would  only  permit  this 
three  days  a  week5.  At  the  time  of  Mamun,  in  the  East, 
the  activity  of  a  Qass  and  givnig  alms  for  his  subsistence 
are  mentioned  along  with  the  building  of  a  mosque,  main- 
tenance of  orphans  and  donations  for  the  Holy  war  as  pious 
works0.  In  the  West  the  Qass  was  a  rare  phenomenon 
(Muk  236).  Malik  ibn  Anas,  leader  of  thought  there,  was 
not  favourably  inclined  towards  him.  (Madkhal  of  Ibn 
al-Hajj,  II,  21  ff.)  In  the  4th/10th  century  the  Qussas 
had  come  down  in  the  world  to  the  level  of  the  populace, 

(1)  Muh,  Studien,  11,160  ff.  T>ereis  a  characteristic  joke  in  Aghani 
regarding  their  method  of  preaching.  Bashshar  ibn  Burd  passing  by  a  Qass 
heard  him  say:  "  For  one  who  fasts  in  Eajab,  Shaban  and  Eamadhan  God 
will  build  a  castle,  the  court  yard  of  which  will  measure  1000  parasangs 
(1200  Kilometers)  and  doors  10  parasangs  broad  and  high.  Bashshar, 
turning  to  his  guide,  said :  This  place  must  be  very  uncomfortable  in 
January.  (2)  Khitat,  11,253.  (3)  Khitat,  253.  The  Qadhi  of  Misr 
appointed  in  the  year  70  was  also  the  official  reader.  He  drew  the  same 
salary  for  this  work  as  for  his  judgeship,  namely  200  dinars  a  year  for 
each  office.  Kindi,  317.  (±)  Kindi,  427. 

[5]  Maqrizi,  Khitat,  11,254  [6]  Ibn  Taifur,  ed.  Keller,  100.  The 
Qass  should  be  blind,  grey-haired  and  have  a  powerful  voice  Jahiz. 
Bayan,  141 


TEE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  327 

to  whom  for  money  they  related  pious  stories,  legends  and 
made  jokes  in  mosques  and  on  the  streets.  They  prayed 
with  the  people  and  were  very  much  liked  by  them,  (for 
example  Makki  149.  In  335/946  one  such  Qass  at  Tarsus 
described  the  majesty  of  God  so  powerfully  that  out 
of  sheer  fright  he  fainted  away  and  died,  Subki  Tabaqat, 
II,  103). 

For  protesting  against  the  heresies  preached  by  a  Qass 
at  Baghdad  the  gate  of  the  house  of  the  thelogian  tfabari 
was  pelted  and  barricaded  with  stones  with  the  result  that 
access  in  and  out  became  impossible1.  At  the  end  of  the 
4th/10th  century  they  were  the  Chief  fomenters  of  the 
eternal  riots  between  the  Sunnis  and  the  Shiahs2.  The 
Sasanid-Maqamah  of  Hamadani  simply  classes  them  under 
buffoons.  By  this  time  they  had  completely  forfeited  the 
esteem  and  good-will  of  the  pious  circles  who,  now  turned 
to  their  successors,  the  Madakkirin.  Their  devotional 
meetings  were  called  majlis  ed  dikr*.  It  grew  out  of  the 
voluntary  litanies  recited  by  the  pious  after  the  conclusion 
of  the  divine  service7'.  The  Sufis  gave  this  name  to  their 
preachers.  The  following  statement  of  Abu  Talib  al-Makki 
(d.386/996)  belongs  to  the  period  of  rivalry  between  the 
Mudakkir  and  the  Qass:  the  dikr -meetings  are  more  valuable 
than  the  ritual  prayer  and  the  ritual  prayer  more  valuable 
than  Qass5.  Already  a  distinction  was  made  between  the 
two  :  "There  are  three  classes  of  religious  teachers:  those 
who  sit  on  the  stairs  are  the  Qassas  those  who  sit  by  the 
columns  are  the  Muftis;  those  who  sit  in  the  corner  of 
the  mosques  are  the  enlightened  ones  (die  Leute  der 
Erkenntnis).  The  dikr -meetings  are  the  meetings  of  those 
learned  in  the  lore  of  God,  emphasising  the  unity  of  God 
and  of  the  people  of  enlightenment6.  The  Mudakkir 
assumed  a  more  dignified  attitude  than  his  predecessor  the 
Qass.  And  this  consisted  above  all  in  this  that  he  never 
extemporised  but  always  read  out  from  a  copy  book. 
(Muk,  182,  327).  Even  to-day  at  Baghdad  the  bards  in* 
variably  read  out  the  heroic  legends  from  a  little  book; 
whereas  the  Jewish  Ikhbari,  despised  by  them,  always 
relates  his  stories  freely. 

[1]  Goldziher,  M.  S.  11,168  [see  notes  at  the  end  of  this  chapter 
[TrJ].  [2]  Jauzi,  fol,  152  f,  [3]  Muk,  182,  13,  I  find  the 

oldest  reference  in  point  of  time  to  the  Mudakkir  in  the  poem  on  the 
siege  of  Baghdad  under  Amin,  198/813  in  Masudi  VI,  448.  [4]  Muk 
182.  [5]  Kashf,  235,  Ibn  al-Hajj,  Madkhal.  11,23.  I  could  not  find  this 
in  the  Kut  al-qulub, 

(6)    Kut  al-<julub  of  Makki,  p.  152, 


328  THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM 

The  demands  made  of  a  Mudakkir  by  Abu  Zaid  es- 
Samarqandi  (d.375)  show  to  some  extent  the  procedure  at 
their  discourses,  "he  should  be  pious,  contemptuous  of  the 
world,  neither  proud  nor  coarse.  He  should  be  conversant 
with  the  commentaries  on  the  Quran  with  history,  with 
the  decisions  of  the  jurists.  He  should  report  no  tradition 
which  he  does  not  believe  to  be  true.  He  should  not  be 
covetous  but  should  only  accept  what  is  voluntarily  given 
to  him.  In  his  lectures  he  should  not  excite  only  hope  or 
fear  but  both.  He  should  not  be  so  lengthy  as  to  exhaust 
the  patience  of  his  audience,  for  in  that  case,  the  benefit  of 
knowledge  vanishes.  When  required  to  be  lengthy  he 
should  introduce  matter  which  relieves  tho  strain  or  which 
provokes  laughter.  The  audience  on  the  other  hand,  should 
punctuate  his  discourse  with  :  'good',  'true',  to  encourage 
the  mudaJckir.  They  should,  further,  repeat  the  formula  of 
blessing  each  time  the  name  of  the  prophet  is  mentioned 
and  should  riot  drop  off  to  sleep  during  the  lecture  hour1 
The  meetings  for  Edification  dissolved  when  the  members 
thereof  rose  to  pray8. 

The  legal  digests,  drawn  up  in  the  3rd/9th  century,  do 
evidently  know  of  litany-like  repetition  of  certain  words  of 
prayer  but  attach  not  the  slightest  importance  to  it.  After 
every  prayer  the  prophet  is  said  to  have  enjoined  the 
repetition  of  Subhan  Allah  thirty-three  times  and  of  "thank 
God"  and  of  "God  is  great"  for  the  same  number  of  times3 
As  early  as  tho  2nd/8th  century  a  man  is  contemptuously 
reproached  for  having  learnt  nothing  at  fvlekka  save  old 
women's  traditions,  viz.,  to  invoke  God  from  a  copy  book 
and  to  pray  with  pebbles5. 

In  the  collection  of  Darirni  (d.  255/869)  people  are 
described  sitting  in  a  mosque,  grouped  in  circles,  with  small 
pebbles  in  their  hands,  awaiting  the  morning  prayer.  Every 
such  circle  had  a  leader  who  directed  :  Repeat  100  times, 
God  is  great  1  Then  100  times,  Subhan  Allah.  The  pebbles 
served  as  counters.  A  shaikh,  passing  by  them,  angrily 
addressed  them  saying  :  They  should  rather  count  their 
sins5.  Throughout  the  3rd/9th  century  dikr  (devotion)  was 
regarded  as  of  very  little  value.  In  fact  theological  works 


.  Bustan  el-arifin,  pp.  25  ff. 

[2]  Jauzi,  foi  896. 

[8]  Eukhari,  1,100. 

[4]  Taqnt,  Irshad,  Vi,  109. 

[6]  Sunan&A  Oawnpore,  p.88  cited  by  Goldzihar,  SHE,  1890,  p,298 


THE  RENAISSANCE  OF  ISLAM  329 

scarcely  mention  it.  Only  the  fourth  century  distinguished 
Du'a  (voluntary  prayer  for  a  fixed  purpose)  and  understood 
thereby  short  pious  ejaculations  ,to  God,  the  salutation, 
prayer  before  meals,  morning  and  evening  (Called  tasmiyah 
"naming  Allah"),  and  the  hundred  fold  invocations  to  Allah 
which  accompanied'  the  faithful  through  the  day's  work'. 
To  this  religious  practice  they  attached  an  enormous  value 
and  ascribed  to  the  Prophet  the  saying  :  "He  who  enters 
the  Bazar  and  says  :  There  is  no  God  but  God.  He  has 
no  companion.  To  him  belongs  all  power  and  all  kingdom. 
He  vivifies  and  kills.  He  lives  for  ever  and  dies  not.  In 
his  hands  is  goodness  and  He  is  supreme  over  everything". 
Whoever  repeats  this  prayer  God  credits  to  his  account 
1000  times  1000  good  deeds;  wipes  away  1000  times  1000 
evil  deeds  and  raises  him  1000  steps  higher2.  The  Egyptian 
Qadhi  Abu  ^ur'ah  (d.  302/914)  presented5  to  the  Prince 
Khumarwaihi  a  loaf  of  bread  which  he  had  blessed  by 
repeating  ten  chapters  of  the  Quran  and  10,000  times  the 
formula  'there  is  no  God  but  God'.  The  lips  of  Bushengi 
(d.  467/1074)  never  ceased  "mentioning  God".  Once  a 
barber  begged  of  him  to  keep  his  mouth  shut  to  enable 
him  to  crop  his  beard  but  he  replied:  "you  may  as  well 
ask  the  time  to  stand  still"*.  A  savant  appeared  in  dream 
to  another  after  his  demise  with  a  diadem  set  with  precious 
stones.  He  had  secured  forgiveness  by  uttering  repeated 
blessings  on  the  Prophet5.  And  a  sufi  authority  even  gives 
the  assurance  of  the  Prophet  to  the  effect  that  no  one 
would  fare  badly  at  the  last  hour  of  the  Day  of  Judgment 
who  would  say  Allah!  Allah  !6.  In  the  place  of  little  pebbles 
(or  olive-berries)  the  rosary  (Subhah